In the S-Max, the Intelligent Speed Limiter effectively marries together two existing technologies: the driver adjustable speed limiter and road sign recognition.
The system uses a forward-facing camera mounted high on the windscreen, which is capable of interpreting speed limit signs, and sets the car's speed limiter accordingly. On country roads where speed limit signs are sparsely located or non-existent, the system will use speed limit data stored in the car's satellite navigation unit.
With the new S-Max, the automatic speed limiter system is available whenever the car is travelling at speeds between 30 and 200km/h.
The system won't apply the brakes to slow the car down, instead it relies on limiting fuel supply to the engine. According to Ford, this "ensures smooth deceleration". If the car breaches the posted maximum speed limit when going downhill, the Intelligent Speed Limiter will play a warning sound.
Drivers can activate or deactivate the automatic speed limiter via the buttons on the steering wheel, which usually control the speed limiter and cruise control functions. The Intelligent Speed Limiter can be temporarily disabled if the driver mashes the accelerator pedal forcefully.
Ford notes that in some European countries, speeding fines are linked to the offender's income, with a Finnish driver recently copping a 54,000 euro ($75,400) fine for travelling at 103km/h in a 80km/h zone.