Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA), also known as Intelligent Speed Assistance, is any system that constantly monitors vehicle speed and the local speed limit on a road and implements an action when the vehicle is detected to be exceeding the speed limit. This can be done through an advisory system, where the driver is warned, or through an intervention system where the driving systems of the vehicle are controlled automatically to reduce the vehicle's speed.
Intelligent speed adaptation uses information about the road on which the vehicle travels to make decisions about what the correct speed should be. This information can be obtained through use of a digital maps incorporating roadway coordinates as well as data on the speed zoning for that roadway at that location, through general speed zoning information for a defined geographical area (e.g., an urban area which has a single defined speed limit), or through feature recognition technology that detects and interprets speed limit signage.
ISA systems are designed to detect and alert a driver when a vehicle has entered a new speed zone, when variable speed zones are in force (e.g., variable speed limits in school zones that apply at certain times of the day and only on certain days), and when temporary speed zones are imposed (such as speed limit changes in adverse weather or during traffic congestion, at accident scenes, or near roadworks ). Many ISA systems will also provide information about locations where hazards may occur (e.g., in high pedestrian movement areas, railway level crossings or railroad grade crossings, schools, hospitals, etc.) or where enforcement actions is indicated (e.g., speed camera and red light camera locations). The purpose of ISA is to assist the driver in keeping to the lawful speed limit at all times, particularly as they pass through different speed ‘zones'. This is particularly useful when drivers are in unfamiliar areas or when they pass through areas where variable speed limits are used.
Types of ISA (Active/ Passive)
The two types of ISA systems, passive and active, differ in that passive systems simply warn the driver of the vehicle travelling at a speed in excess of the speed limit, while active systems intervene and automatically correct the vehicle's speed to conform with the speed limit. Passive systems are generally driver advisory systems: They alert the driver to the fact that they are speeding, provide information as to the speed limit, and allow the driver to make a choice on what action should be taken. These systems usually display visual or auditory cues, such as auditory and visual warnings and may include tactile cues such as a vibration of the accelerator pedal. Some passive ISA technology trials have used vehicle modified to provide haptic feedback, wherein the accelerator pedal becomes more resistant to movement (i.e., harder to push down) when the vehicle travels over the speed limit. Active ISA systems actually reduce or limit the vehicle's speed automatically by manipulating the engine and/or braking systems. Most active ISA systems provide an override system so that the driver can disable the ISA, if necessary, on a temporary basis.
An often unrecognised feature of both active and passive ISA systems is that they can serve as on-board vehicle data recorders, retaining information about vehicle location and performance for later checking and fleet management purposes.