The Ford S-Max will read road signs to limit your speed

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How about this for a space age technology? Ford’s latest S-Max will have a feature you can enable that will automatically prevent you from breaking the speed limit – so you don’t accidentally end up with points on your license.

What’s really clever is how it works. Rather than read the data from a map or via GPS (though it can do that), the car itself has a camera that will read road signs as you drive past them – so as soon as you hit a 30mph zone, you’ll slow down. Apparently rather than simply apply the breaks, the engine intelligently limits the amount of fuel it receives.

It’ll be interesting to see how well this works in practice. Whilst we’re increasingly seeing more automated motoring, real world conditions can be hugely variable – what about temporary speed restriction signs, and so on? And what if I put a big “100” sign in the window of my house?

James O’Malley