Active Driver Restraint

I blogged last year on Active Driver Assistance and noted my concerns about the potential for adaptive cruise control to make an incorrect decision and increase the risk of an accident rather than reduce it.

So I was interested to hear a BBC news report earlier this week about a device which automatically stops acceleration when a vehicle exceeds the speed limit going on test in London. Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) is being developed by Transport for London (TfL) and uses a newly-introduced digital speed limit map of the city. On the Radio4 Today programme, journalist Quentin Wilson said that anything that takes away driver control has to be looked at carefully.

The levels of interventions are reported as: 

  • Advisory ISA: the driver is informed of the limit and of violations but there is no direct link between this information and the vehicle controls.
  • Voluntary ISA: the system is linked to the vehicle controls but the driver can choose when to have the system enabled.
  • Mandatory ISA: no override of the system is possible.

I can appreciate the potential benefit of an Advisory ISA, but this capability has been available for quite some time in proven systems such as Road Angel (which has an interesting heritage); however, as I mentioned in my earlier blog, I still don't think the arguments for voluntary/mandatory ISA are convincing…but if the Mandatory ISA scheme were to be introduced in London, I'm sure that my brother's BMW M5 would be in need of a new home.