INTELLIGENT Speed Assist (ISA) is a safety technology that alerts drivers when they exceed the speed limit. ISA activates when a driver exceeds the posted speed limit for a section of road by a set speed (eg. 2km/hr or more).
Audio and visual warnings activate to remind the driver that they are going too fast. ISA can also be fitted with a speed limiting function which increases the pressure on the accelerator when you exceed the posted speed limit, making it harder to accelerate.
How does ISA work? ISA determines the location of the car through global positioning (GPS) navigation and cross references this information to a digital road map containing speed limit information for each road. It then analyses the speed of the car and issues a visual and audio warning to notify the driver if they are travelling at a defined amount (eg. 2km/hr) or more over the speed limit. If ISA is used as an active speed limiter it can physically prevent the driver from exceeding the posted speed limit by reducing the throttle signal going to the car’s computer if it detects excessive throttle for the current speed limit zone the car is travelling in.
If ISA is fitted with a speed limiting function it increases the pressure on the accelerator when you exceed the posted speed limit, making it harder to accelerate and break the speed limit. ISA can be of assistance to the driver by; advising when the speed limit is being exceeded, advising when speed limits change along a stretch of road such as those associated with traffic conditions, weather or school zones and advising of the current posted speed limit in any location preventing excessive speeding.
Do we need it after all? If all cars were fitted with ISA and assuming that we all have the same advanced roads and GPS maps (as in South Africa, Europe, Japan, America, etc); Serious injury crashes could be reduced by up to 13% and beyond. Fatal crashes could be reduced by up to 24% plus. If an active speed limiting ISA was uniformly fitted to all cars, Serious injury crashes could be reduced by up to 36% and Fatal crashes could be reduced by up to 59% or so. In addition, ISA can contribute to significant reductions in fuel consumption and car emissions without significant increases in travel times.
How is ISA different to a speed alert system? A speed alert system, common on many cars, only provides an audiovisual warning if the speed programmed by the driver is exceeded. ISA automatically provides warnings in all speed zones once the posted speed limit is exceeded by a set amount (eg. 2km/hr or more). ISA uses GPS and digital mapping to determine the cars location and the speed limit for the road on which the car is travelling. One may ask as to the availability and viability of ISA commercially. ISA is a new technology and is still being refined. The TAC are currently undertaking demonstrations of a device manufactured by Speedshield to stimulate interest and demand in this technology.