DOE 2015 SBIR/STTR Phase 2 Release 1 awards include 3 hydrogen projects
Report: VW Group to decide how to proceed with Quantumscape solid state energy storage by July

New Ford S-MAX first worldwide to offer Intelligent Speed Limiter

Ford of Europe announced that the a new S-MAX will be the first Ford worldwide to offer Intelligent Speed Limiter, a new technology that scans traffic signs and adjusts the throttle to help drivers stay within legal speed limits and avoid fines.

Intelligent Speed Limiter for the first time combines the two current Ford technologies Adjustable Speed Limiter and Traffic Sign Recognition, which are both already available on models including Focus, all-new Mondeo, and Kuga SUV. Drivers can choose between speed limiting systems in the vehicle menu using the steering wheel controls, and activate them using the speed system controls.

S-MAX Intelligent Speed Limiter. Click to enlarge.

Maximum speed for Intelligent Speed Limiter can be set and then raised or lowered in 5 km/h (5 mph) increments. Between 30-200 km/h (20-120 mph) the technology utilises speed limit information from the Traffic Sign Recognition system. In vehicles equipped with onboard navigation, Intelligent Speed Limiter also uses map data for improved accuracy.

Intelligent Speed Limiter allows drivers to set a speed tolerance of up to 10 km/h (5 mph) above the detected speed limit. The system does not apply the brakes but smoothly controls engine torque by electronically adjusting the amount of fuel delivered. If the S‑MAX overruns the set maximum speed because of a downhill gradient, an alarm is sounded. Drivers can temporarily override the system by pressing firmly on the accelerator.

Intelligent Speed Limiter also communicates with the onboard navigation system to help accurately maintain the appropriate maximum speed when distances between speed limit signs are greater, for example on long country roads. Drivers can temporarily override the system by firmly depressing the accelerator pedal.

Speed limiting technology was last year specified on around two-thirds of Ford vehicles for which it was available—proving popular with drivers who want to ensure they avoid incurring speeding fines by unintentionally exceeding the speed limit. Intelligent Speed Limiter makes that even easier.

—Stefan Kappes, active safety supervisor, Ford of Europe

The S-MAX—a seven-seat sports activity vehicle—offers a range of more than 20 new technologies, including global debuts for Glare-Free Highbeam and Ford Adaptive Steering. For the first time, S-MAX will also be available with Ford’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive (iAWD).

Glare-Free Highbeam. Fading out light that could dazzle other road users from the headlights, Glare-Free Highbeam retains maximum illumination for other areas. The technology works in conjunction with Ford Dynamic LED headlights with Adaptive Front Lighting System, which can adjust the headlight beam angle and intensity to one of seven settings according to speed, ambient light, steering angle, distance to the vehicle in front and windscreen wiper activation.

A windshield-mounted camera detects oncoming vehicles up to 800 meters ahead, and the system uses shutters to block specific paths of light.

Ford Adaptive Steering. Introducing a new generation of steering technology, Ford Adaptive Steering will later this year make it easier to maneuver at low speeds and in tight spaces, and provides a more precise and intuitive feel at high speeds. The system continually adjusts the ratio between the steering wheel and the road wheels in the following scenarios:

  • City-driving speeds: an electric motor and gearing system contained within the steering wheel adds to the driver’s inputs so that fewer turns of the wheel are required to park or negotiate tight turns and T-junctions.

  • Medium speeds: the system reacts smoothly to steering inputs while retaining nimble response for increased precision and a fun-to-drive, agile feel.

  • Highway speeds: the system uses the electric motor to subtly reduce steering sensitivity and deliver smoother high-speed lane-changes and more relaxed cruising.

An electronic control unit and steering angle sensor also housed within the steering wheel enable Ford Adaptive Steering to calculate the steering inputs required. System settings can be configured using the instrument cluster and steering wheel controls, and steering weight and response adapt to match the S-MAX’s “comfort,” “normal” and “sport” chassis settings.

Ford Adaptive Steering works with Electric Power Assisted Steering, which also enables refinement-enhancing features including Torque Vectoring Control, Pull-Drift Compensation, Active Nibble Compensation, and Torque Steer Compensation.

S-MAX powertrains. The all-new S-MAX will be offered with TDCi diesel and EcoBoost gasoline engines for quiet, effortless cruising, and CO2 emissions reduced by up to 7%.

Ford’s new bi‑turbo 2.0-liter TDCi engine also will be introduced to S-MAX. Offering 210 PS (207 hp, 154 kW) and 450 N·m (332 lb-ft) of torque, delivered from 2,000 rpm, the new engine is offered with Ford’s six-speed PowerShift automatic gearbox and uses electronically-controlled sequential bi-turbo design for faster engine response. A small, low-inertia turbine responds quickly to initial boost demand, and a larger high-inertia turbo sustains greater boost pressure for peak performance.

Ford’s revised 2.0-liter TDCi diesel engine with single variable geometry turbocharger technology is offered with 120 PS, 150 PS and 180 PS (118 hp/88 kW; 148 hp/110 kW; and 178 hp/132 kW) . Combined with a six-speed manual gearbox, all three variants will offer 5.0-liter 100/km (47 mpg US) fuel efficiency and 129 g/km CO2 emissions from a revised engine block, new cylinder-head and fuel injection designs. Ford’s lean NOx trap exhaust after-treatment system helps deliver cleaner emissions.

The 150 PS and 180 PS 2.0-liter TDCi S-MAX models will be offered with Ford’s six-speed PowerShift automatic gearbox and are available with iAWD, for a seamless transition between front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive performance to enhance traction and road-holding. The system continually measures how the car’s wheels are gripping the road surface every 16 milliseconds; can adjust power delivery to individual wheels in 100 milliseconds; and can send 100% of available engine torque to the rear wheels.

S-MAX gasoline engine options will include Ford’s new fuel-efficient 160 PS (158 hp/118 kW) 1.5-liter EcoBoost with manual transmission. The engine features integrated exhaust manifold technology that improves efficiency by helping the engine reach optimal temperatures faster, and delivers torque more rapidly by minimizing the distance exhaust gasses travel between cylinders and turbocharger.

The engine also uses the core EcoBoost technologies of turbocharging, high-pressure direct fuel-injection and Twin-independent Variable Cam Timing alongside a new aluminium engine block. A water-cooled intake charge cooler delivers a more efficient feed of air into the engine and the control system has been reprogrammed to offer high levels of refinement.

Ford’s 240 PS (237 hp/177 kW) 2.0-liter EcoBoost with 6-speed automatic transmission will be offered, and the complete S-MAX engine range meets Euro Stage VI emissions standards with CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency enhanced using:

  • Smart Regenerative Charging, which selectively engages the alternator and charges the battery when the vehicle is coasting and braking to recapture energy.

  • Auto-Start-Stop, which automatically shuts down the engine when the vehicle is at idle and restarts the engine when the driver wants to move off.

  • Active Grille Shutter, which improves aerodynamics and optimizes airflow for engine cooling.

  • Aerodynamic efficiency has been optimized during 400 hours of wind tunnel testing and with enhanced underbody aerodynamic shielding.

Other Driver Assistance. For drivers approaching junctions where visibility is reduced, or situations where pedestrians may unexpectedly cross the road, the S-MAX is equipped with new technology that could help.

New-to-segment Front Split View Camera technology displays in the cockpit the 180-degree view from a camera installed within the grille. To ensure the lens remains clear, a high-pressure jet washer extends to clean the camera when the headlight washer is activated.

Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection technology also is first to segment. This system is designed to detect people in or near the road ahead, or who may cross the vehicle’s path, and can automatically apply the brakes if a potential collision is detected and the driver does not respond to warnings.

Information collected from the windshield-mounted camera, and radar located in the bumper, is processed and checked against a database of “pedestrian shapes” to help distinguish people from typical roadside scenery and objects. If a pedestrian is detected in front of the car, and a collision becomes imminent, the driver will first receive an audible and visual warning. Should the driver not respond, the system then shortens the time required to apply the brakes by reducing the gap between brake pads and discs. If the driver still does not respond the brakes are applied automatically.

Real world testing was an important part of the development. Pedestrians come in all shapes and sizes, and adopt an infinite number of postures. We covered more than 500,000 kilometres that included an extremely wide range of people and potential situations.

—Gregor Allexi, active safety engineer, Ford of Europe

Pre-Collision Assist scans ahead for vehicles, too, and if an imminent collision is detected it can automatically apply up to full braking force to help the driver mitigate or avoid many types of rear-end collision.

The all-new S-MAX also features technologies that make parking easier:

  • Perpendicular Parking can detect and reverse the car hands-free into spaces alongside other cars in the same way that Active Park Assist helps drivers to parallel park.

  • Park-Out Assist helps drivers exit a parallel parking space, the system operating the steering while the driver operates the accelerator and brake.

  • Side Parking Aid delivers audible alerts and on-screen distance indicators to obstacles.

  • Cross Traffic Alert warns drivers reversing out of a parking space of vehicles that may soon be crossing behind them.

Further driver assistance technologies offered with all-new S-MAX include Blind Spot Information System, Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Keeping Alert, Lane Keeping Aid, Adaptive Cruise Control and Driver Alert.

Improved active and passive safety. S-MAX has been designed to help protect an occupant in the event of a crash. The body structure uses hydro-formed high strength steel for A‑pillars, B-pillars, and roof rails, enhancing side impact performance while reducing weight.

For the first time, S-MAX offers second-row seat side-airbags, in addition to driver and front-passenger, driver-knee, and first-, second- and third-row curtain airbags. Second-row seatbelt pre-tensioners with load limiters enhance rear passenger safety. Seatbelt minders feature for all three rows.

MyKey technology will enable owners to program a key—usually for younger drivers—that can inhibit incoming phone calls; restrict top speed; prevent deactivation of driver assistance and safety features; reduce audio system maximum volume, and disable the audio system altogether if occupants are not using safety belts.

Vehicle stability also is enhanced with Curve Control and Roll Stability Control systems that adjust engine torque and braking to help drivers maintain control.

We’re not just developing cars at Ford, we’re also developing technologies to make driving more convenient, safer, and ultimately help improve mobility around the world. Innovative systems like Intelligent Speed Limiter, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, and Active Park Assist are making the benefits of semi-autonomous technology accessible to everyone.

—Pim van der Jagt, executive technical leader, Ford Research & Advanced Engineering

The all-new S-MAX is available to order now with deliveries due in the summer. The first-generation S-MAX was European Car of the Year in 2007 and has been sold to more than 400,000 customers across Europe



With 20mph speed limits coming in all over Bristol UK I find that I am using my speed limiter all the time to avoid drifting over.
It is not as sophisticated as the new Ford system, but sure helps.


I can see this system becoming a safety liability because it prevents drivers from adjusting to road and traffic conditions. You may theoretically get fewer speeding tickets (I haven't been issued one since the last millennium, so it's not a big concern), but you can no longer place your vehicle in the safest position within the flow of traffic.


Not really, unless you are a really, really bad driver anyway.
On mine you can just hit the pause button and it, er, pauses!

It is a bit different to the cruise control, as it only gives you a resistant point at the designated speed - you can brake, decelerate etc with no hassle.

No doubt it will later be combined with cruise control, set to maintain a safe distance to the vehicle ahead.


By definition, half the drivers are worse than average (and the average isn't very high in the first place).

It seems like a distraction to have to monitor and control these safety systems when you should be paying attention to the road. I presume that you live in an area that is infested with photo radars? If you do, then most drivers are already too busy staring at their speedometers to look at the road.


I am no brilliant driver, but I find the aids a help, not a hindrance.

I have the speed limiter set at 24 mph, which works fine in the as yet very laxly enforced 20mph limits, without getting too many cars riding my bumper, as it starts to feel the pull of the limiter at 20 mph so I don't have to think about the speed.

I simply push a button, which I know by feel, and it is set.

I even use cruise control in the city instead of just on the motorway, for the 30 mph limits, as those are really, really strictly enforced and you don't want to be drifting even a couple of mph over.

I don't have to take my eyes off the road for either.


Sorry, I did not make it clear.
The speed limiter and the cruise control are two separate instruments on my car.
So I can set the limiter to deal with the 20mph limits, and the cruise control by default at 30mph although altering the settings is easy and undistracting, once you are used to it.


How many of us have cruise control and have to disengage it every so often? Yep.

The comments to this entry are closed.