Could the new Ford S-MAX put an end to speeding fines?

The latest Ford S-MAX comes with a new feature which can read road signs and can stop drivers from breaking speed limits, potentially putting an end to speeding fines.

Known as the Intelligent Speed Limiter, the new function combines two existing Ford technologies, the adjustable speed limiter which lets drivers set a maximum speed, and traffic sign recognition software.

Reads road signs

It works by using a system which reads road signs as your car passes, along with GPS navigation technology, to automatically determine what the legal limit is for the road you’re on.

The Intelligent Speed Limiter then allows drivers a tolerance of 5mph above the detected speed limit, and prevents breaking the law by limiting the amount of fuel that reaches the engine.

As well as that, it also features a system that sounds an alarm if the car exceeds the limit while running downhill, plus a temporary override function so drivers can get out of sticky situations.

Stefan Kappes, Ford Europe’s active safety supervisor, said: “Speed limiting technology was last year specified on around two-thirds of Ford vehicles for which it was available.

He also noted that it was “Proving popular with drivers who want to ensure they avoid incurring speeding fines by unintentionally exceeding the speed limit.”

Intelligent Speed Limiter technology follows on from other similar functions, like the MyKey feature which is available in the S-MAX as well as cars like the all-new Mustang.

MyKey allows drivers to set a limit on the top speed of the car, and can also limit how loud the stereo will go to prevent younger or inexperienced drivers from crashes or distractions.

Range of smart new technologies

Alongside that, the new S-MAX features a range of as many as 20 new smart technologies, including glare-free highbeams which automatically fade the lights to avoid dazzling other drivers.

Working in conjunction with Ford’s Dynamic LED headlights, it uses a windshield-mounted camera to detect vehicles up to 800 metres ahead and blocks only specific light paths that interfere with other motorists.

The new S-MAX also comes with the new Adaptive Steering feature, which makes it easier to manoeuvre at low speeds, but which then adjusts automatically for a more precise feel at speed.

Using an electric motor and gearing system contained within the steering column, it automatically adds to the driver’s input so that the S-MAX can be turned at slower speeds with fewer turns of the wheel.