By on March 25, 2015

2015 Ford S-Max Intelligent Speed Limiter - TTAC Zaibatsu Style

Can’t drive 55? If you’re behind the wheel of a 2015 Ford S-Max, you’ll have no choice, thanks to its Intelligent Speed Limiter.

Ford of Europe says its limiter, being first offered on the seven-seat crossover, can allow drivers to set a maximum speed manually that can be dialed up or down in 5 kph (5 mph) increments, as well as doing all the work for the driver.

The latter is accomplished through traffic-sign recognition technology, which provides the driver with speed limit information, cancellation signs and overtaking restrictions via the S-Max’s instrument cluster. Functionality begins at 30 kph (20 mph), and ends at 200 kph (120 mph), and drivers can set a speed tolerance of 5 kph above the limit.

Active safety chief Stefan Knappes says the system is meant to remove “one of the stresses of driving, helping ensure customers remain within the legal speed limit,” explaining that drivers sometimes aren’t aware of their speed until an accident or a fine occurs. The system will hit the road in Europe this summer, when the first S-Max deliveries begin.

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31 Comments on “2015 Ford S-Max Can Drive 55 Via Intelligent Speed Limiter...”

  • avatar

    I like this idea. There are days that I’d like to cruse, but nerves or schedule have my right foot feeling a little heavier than I’d like. And I read that you could deactivate the system by firmly pressing your foot on the accelerator, which is great. That said, there is a whole lot of information crammed onto that little LCD in the picture, and that could be aggravating.

  • avatar

    “explaining that drivers sometimes aren’t aware of their speed until an accident or a fine occurs.”

    Yeah, because you’re not paying enough attention! I don’t like this feature.

    There was a speed warning on one of my cars, the 00 A8. You set it, and when you exceeded that max defined speed you got a lot of beeps and a warning exclamation triangle from the dash. Same idea, just less invasive.

  • avatar

    Terrible idea – Let the lawsuits roll in the first time you can’t get out of the way when a truck merges into your lane and this thing cuts power. *Squish*

  • avatar

    On a trip from NYC to Boston there was virtually no one on the road and I set my JGCSRT14’s Adaptive cruise control to 80 MPH with a distance setting of 3 to keep the furthest distance behind the next guy – who was also travelling above 80.

    The hardest part was trusting the computer.

    It performed flawlessly.

    Unfortunately – driving at high speed over long distances gets boring because you become “velocitized” (DMV manual term).

    Everynow and then the mind wanders and that’s where accidents happen.

  • avatar

    “One of the stresses of driving…” lol

    Looking out for Johnny Law keeps me alert.

  • avatar
    Mr. Orange

    This feature would be so useful for those of us who have to endure driving through speed traps or those communities that are apoplectic to going 3 miles over.

    But then again would an impaired driver use such a system as a crutch. Having the car itself not exceeding the speed limit. Especially with a vehicle that is equipped with an automatic braking.

    • 0 avatar

      If you’re only going to use the system when driving through a speed trap area, what’s the difference from using cruise control? That’s what I do when I know there are cameras around.

    • 0 avatar

      I would use this if I ever have the misfortune of having to drive through Virginia again. It is different from cruise control in that it doesn’t disengage any time you hit the brake. You could get off and back on the highway and the limiter would remain on.

  • avatar

    Cadillac needs to adopt a speedo that looks this good
    I don’t have the words, I’m sure someone here can better inform

  • avatar

    What Stefan Knappes is actually communicating is that the system is meant to remove “one of the stresses of driving, helping customers reduce texting typos without losing forward momentum.”

  • avatar

    I could swear the Focus SE I rented a few weeks back let you do this manually already. Either way, automating based solely on sign recognition seems really risky, like in construction zones where one of the normal speed signs becomes uncovered or in school zones with variable times. Until there’s some sort of electronic signalling to vehicles, I don’t see this being that effective.

    • 0 avatar

      Ford has had the “My Key” option on many of its cars for many years now. It does allow you to manually set a speed limiter among other things. It is pitched as a thing for parents of new drivers to keep them out of trouble. If you don’t have your seat belt on for example the radio volume is cut. Approach the set speed and the radio volume is cut. Many rental car companies get that option and set the non master key to 75 or 80 and give that one to the customer. When they first came out my wife rented a car on a trip with her mother and it drove her nuts. For one her mother was constantly taking off her seat belt and for two it was in an area where the speed limit was 75 so the key being set at 80 did not make her happy.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s it, My Key. Interestingly enough, Hertz rented it with both keys and neither had been programmed. Having the car for entire week with some long boring highway drives, as well as enjoying to fiddle with things, I programmed one of the keys with all my preferences. Speed limiter was definitely not one of them.

  • avatar

    I’m pretty sure the primary application for this is parts of Europe filled with speed cameras. I’m actually surprised local governments let Ford implement a feature that will help drivers avoid their revenue collection.

    It will surely come with much legalese about how the driver is ultimately responsible for their speed, so Ford isn’t held responsible if it misses a sign or picks up on a standard sign in a construction zone.

  • avatar

    Welp, that’s one car I won’t be buying.

  • avatar

    So, now people are too lazy to look for the speed limit signs by themselves? The thing is, “the computer didn’t see the speed limit sign” isn’t going to be sufficient to excuse you from a speeding ticket. GPS-based knowledge isn’t quite going to work either, as speeds are often changed just to create a speed trap. Or, local conditions (construction) create a temporary reduced speed.

    I question how well this is going to work…
    (1) As you get to a decreased speed limit area you see all the cars braking to slow down (because a cop car is sitting on the side of the road right after the speed limit sign).
    (2) Everyone’s braking to slow down and merging out of the “fast” lane causes vehicles to bunch up and block the view of the side of the road.
    (3) Computer misses actual speed limit sign because of (2)
    (4) After the bottleneck, traffic gets better and you are now speeding.

    That said, I love cars where you can adjust the cruise control up and down by single digits by flicking the cruise control lever.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr. Orange

      This isn’t active cruise control. Its a speed limiter.

      You are still in control of the throttle with your foot. It just is a system that reduces your ability to speed by forcing you to apply more throttle than you normally would once you reach the speed limit.

  • avatar

    I had a gizmo called a Mobileye C2-270. Its main purpose was to be an aftermarket lane departure and forward collision warning device. But it also read speed limit signs and warned about exceeding the limits.

    What’s relevant to this article is that it had a bad habit of reading offramp speed signs and interpreting them as speed limit signs. So it would be complaining I was doing far over the speed limit. Hopefully the system described in this article can tell what really is and is not a speed limit sign.

    Since the Mobileye took the actual speed signal from the CAN bus, it could be a simple further step to allow the system to “talk” the other way and control the speed. Which means this capability could be put into an aftermarket product for any car.

    Incidentally, the Mobileye C2-270 broke after 18 months, and Mobileye had no solution other than replacing it with a Mobileye 560 for about $1300. They wouldn’t even sell me a replacement for the defective module.

  • avatar

    I think the override by just pushing hard is a bit of UI genius.

    However, this is going to be a disaster in my area.

    The main road by my house is near a school. There are huge signs saying “SPEED LIMIT 20 MPH” but underneath it says “when children present”. It’s 35 otherwise.

    The chances this system can read that sign and will do 35 on the weekends? Zero. So once systems like this become popular, that’s going to be a 20 MPH road, all day every day.

    And what about variable speed limits per lane like we have here in Seattle?

  • avatar

    Congratulations Ford!

    You’ve spent millions of dollars creating a slow rolling highway obstacle.

    You’ve done it before.

    When the previous Ford Waste-Of-Millions-Slow-Rolling-Obstacle was launched, they called it the Pinto. It famously burst into flames when faster traffic hit it.

    The modern automobile is considerably safer than the Pinto. Here’s hoping they don’t burst onto flames during the inevitable rear collisions they’re going to cause. That said, the irony….

    As a sidebar, I wonder what the insurance rates on this car will be when the actuarial tables require their inevitable column widening to accommodate the accident numbers.

  • avatar

    The Volvo V60 displays the speed limit signs… and it’s wrong most of the time. I can’t imagine that this would be any more accurate

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