The new version of the Ford Focus, one of Europe’s most popular cars, will feature Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) as standard, it has emerged. The system, which Ford launched three years ago on its high–end S-Max and Galaxy models, will now be installed on every Ford Focus, which currently sells for as little as EUR 16,500 in Belgium.
A Ford executive has previously told a road safety event in Dublin, organised by ETSC and RSA, that the system was taken as an option on 95% of sales of the Galaxy and S-Max when those vehicles were launched. Standard installation on the Focus represents a major endorsement of the technology, which Ford has marketed in Europe as a way of helping avoid speeding fines.
A recent test by ADAC, a German drivers‘ organisation, found that the ISA system on the Ford S-Max, launched in 2015, was accurate around 90% of the time. The ADAC members magazine Motorwelt, previously described the S-Max ISA system as “clever and advanced…a must for every S -MAX buyer.”
Mobileye, a major supplier of traffic sign recognition and ISA systems, told a European Parliament workshop last month that state-of-the-art systems have an accuracy rate of 95% in most EU countries, and added that any outstanding issues could be overcome before ISA is set to become mandatory according to the European Commission’s proposed timeline. In any case, as Ford points out in its marketing video, the system can be overridden at any time.
The FIA, representing drivers’ organisations, has claimed that traffic sign recognition systems are not accurate enough, citing an error rate of 25% in rainy conditions. But the research this assessment was based on was not a test of a commercially-available ISA system, but an experimental sign reading experiment carried out three years ago in Malaysia that did not look at speed limit signs.