Signs hazards Austroads read Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) Signs

Automatic speed limiters mandated

European politicians have voted on a raft of mandatory safety technology in all new vehicles including “black box” recorders, automatic braking and even automatic speed limiters.

The technology will only apply to new vehicles with some measures, such as auto emergency brakes in cars, being introduced as early as next year. 

New safety measures include:

  • New crash testing requirements;
  • Mandatory installation of driver assistance systems including Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection;
  • Overridable Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) and Emergency Lane Keeping; and
  • New direct vision standard for lorries and buses to enable drivers to have a better view of other road users around their vehicle.

European politicians have not yet agreed on introduction dates for all the measures. 

So far there is no discussion about motorcycles having these technologies.

However, we have seen ABS mandated and there is talk about emergency braking, so we wonder how long before motorcycles have speed limiters and speed sign recognition.

Automatic speed limiters

The ISA system uses Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) technology which is already included in some luxury cars.

The technology uses sensors which “read” and interpret roadside traffic signs and govern the speed of automated vehicles to the posted speed limit.

Yamaha and BMW have already developed automated motorcycles and other companies such as KTM and Ducati are working similar radar technology.

Ducati and Audi demonstraties V2X radar limiters
Ducati and Audi demonstratie radar sensors

They say the automatic speed limiters will be overridable so that means you can switch it off.

But we suspect that when you switch on, it will default to being activated just like traction control and ABS are on current vehicles.

However, one big problem in Australia is the standard and maintenance of our roadside speed signs.

Austroads read Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) Signs limiters
Austroads report on TSR

An Austroads report says our signs will have to be improved. After all, what would TSR make of signs in rural areas that have been used for target practice!

We can think of several other scenarios where interventionist technology limiting your speed could be danger.

For example, if you commit to overtaking a vehicle which then speeds up, you could be left stranded on the wrong side of the road, unable to complete the overtaking manoeuvre.

  1. Some European cars already have a speed limiter which works well. That is, you set the speed at say 100kmh. Upon reaching that speed the throttle goes ‘dead’. But if you push past that in an emergency situation, all hell breaks loose as the ECU shifts dow a couple of gears, and gives full power to the engine, like a launch control.

    But I can’t ever see that working on a bike. It will never happen.

  2. The scenario I envision is a new vehicle traveling down an expressway changing lanes in front of a large truck suddenly slamming on the brakes because of a bug! Both literally and figuratively a large bug a bit of road debris or some kind of glitch could result in a fatality. A quick look at aviation disasters and you will find a number that were caused by safety Nazis.

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