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Connected Driving 7 min read

All eyes on ISA: speed-limiting technology is here to stay

A car drives past a speed limit sign on the highway.

It's been two years since every new car, van, truck and bus sold within the European Union has been required to include Intelligent Speed Assistance - here's what's next.

“The importance of the adoption of the technology cannot be overestimated.” the European Transport Safety Council stated. “ISA is expected to reduce collisions by 30% and deaths by 20%.”

From July 2024, the regulation will expand the intelligent speed assistance (ISA) requirement to include all newly registered vehicles (even those models launched on to the market before July 2022)

This innovative technology aims to enhance road safety by ensuring drivers are constantly aware of the legal speed limits, irrespective of the presence or visibility of road signage. Achieving at least a 90% accuracy rate as mandated by European Union (EU) regulations, ISA uses advanced cameras and mapping technology to detect and convey speed limit information to the driver.

When traditional road signs are missing or obscured, the system relies on comprehensive maps that incorporate local speed regulations, even those not explicitly signposted, to keep drivers informed and compliant.


How does ISA work?

Intelligent speed assistance helps drivers stay within speed limits by sending them sound alerts, showing warnings on the car's dashboard, or making the steering wheel vibrate. Although drivers have the option to overlook these alerts, ISA acts as a constant nudge to keep an eye on their speed.

These reminders help drivers become more conscious of how fast they're going, encouraging safer driving habits and adherence to road laws. ISA tackles the issue of varying speed limits by using cameras to spot speed limit signs and using maps to figure out less obvious limits, like those based on road types, weather conditions or traffic flow.

With a success rate of at least 90% as required by EU regulations, having reliable and fresh maps is crucial. By ensuring drivers are always aware of speed limits, even when signs are hard to see or missing, ISA aims to make roads safer.

Dashboard showing speed limit with bad weather conditions during the day

An Olympic feat

Bringing intelligent speed assistance technology into cars poses a few hurdles for the companies that make them.

Technical challenges

Put simply, cars without built-in location technology must now find a way to show the speed limit right on their dashboards. They can't just use smartphone apps or gadgets outside the car's system; everything must be integrated with the car itself.

ISA systems combine map information with speed limits picked up by the car's cameras. But this isn't always easy. Sometimes, cameras get confused by signs that are too vague or packed with extra details, or when signs look too similar across different countries. This detail is really important to make sure the system works everywhere.

And for trucks, which have their own set of speed rules based on their size and design, the challenge is even bigger because the ISA system must also consider local traffic laws.

Showing the right speed limit gets particularly tough when signs are missing or it's too dark to see them. To deal with this, the ISA system is tested in low-light conditions, using both the camera and map information to make sure it can still figure out the correct speed limit even at night.

The importance of the adoption of the technology cannot be overestimated.

European Transport Safety Council


Economic challenges

The European Union has updated its General Safety Regulation with a wide range of requirements that vehicles must meet, including those related to safety systems, construction, and advanced tech features like intelligent speed assistance and driver drowsiness warnings.

These additions mean manufacturers face higher production costs, particularly as they work to include these features in more budget-friendly cars.

Also, with vehicles increasingly relying on connected tech, managing data use without driving up costs is a big challenge.

Plus, there’s a mandate that map updates must be free for seven years, and the systems need to be supported for fourteen years, further complicating cost management for manufacturers.

UX challenges

In simpler terms, integrating ISA comes with its fair share of challenges. People use their smartphones daily and expect their car's tech to work just as smoothly. If there's a mismatch between the speed shown and actual speed limits, it could lead to a frustrating experience for the driver.

The new EU rules state that if the ISA system can't figure out a speed limit, it needs to show a special signal to the driver, sometimes with a question mark next to the speed limit to indicate uncertainty.

For a truly top-notch driving experience, car makers need to go above and beyond just the basic requirements. They have to ensure the system correctly shows speed limits even in tricky situations like when signs have extra conditions (like time restrictions), or when bad weather or other vehicles block the view.

This demands relying on both cameras and mapping data to keep drivers correctly informed, no matter the circumstances.

Traffic on an American highway in Washington State


With a focus on meeting the regulatory needs in over 180 countries, especially those where ISA compliance is mandated, HERE ISA Map ensures their map covers all road categories comprehensively.

This coverage includes not only standard speed limit values but also conditional limits that may change based on the time of day, weather, and other factors.

Customers have the flexibility to select only the road attributes they need for their particular ISA implementation, allowing for a tailored solution that fits various vehicle types.

Already chosen by 21 car and truck manufacturers, covering over 50 brands including big names like BMW and Jaguar Land Rover, HERE ISA Map is rapidly becoming the preferred choice for meeting intelligent speed assistance requirements.

Its success points to its critical role in making roads safer. The map is exceptionally good at predicting speed limit changes, which is especially useful for features like Adaptive Cruise Control, making driving smoother and safer within speed limits.

With HERE ISA Map, vehicles always have the latest speed limit info, taking into account all kinds of limits, even those not directly posted.

The global reach of HERE's location data and software services extends to 180 million vehicles, while its maps are embedded in 34 million cars equipped with advanced driving assistance systems — it's clear we're leading the way in providing solutions that not only meet but exceed safety regulations but also make driving a better experience for everyone involved.

HERE Technologies

HERE Technologies

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