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Connected Driving 6 min read

What it's going to take for ISA to become industry-standard for all vehicles

What it's going to take for ISA to become industry-standard for all vehicles

Intelligent Speed Assistance will become mandatory in new vehicles from July 2022 in the EU and some other countries. A webinar explains how we will get there.

Widespread use of Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) could cut collisions by 30% and deaths by 20%. It is a feature showing the legal speed limit to the driver at all times on the vehicle dashboard. A report by The Norwegian Institute of Transport Economics and Research made this finding, which shows clearly how ISA could be a game changer for road safety. In fact, the group found that speed assist tools were the most effective of all in saving lives.

ISA will become mandatory in new vehicles from 2022.


Perhaps because it is proven to be so effective, 78% of road users surveyed said they support this. With 500 deaths every week on EU roads, lawmakers were keen to take action. The European Commission's Transport Council has set the goal of reducing road deaths to almost zero by 2050, and ISA will play an important role.

But how does it work, and what needs to happen first before this becomes a reality?

ISA will be required in new vehicle types from July 2022 in the EU and several other countries, and from July 2024 it will be mandatory in all newly registered vehicles. The regulation applies to all cars, light commercial vehicles, trucks, and buses.

To support ISA, vehicles will be equipped with a front-facing camera that can read speed limit signs and display the information in a direct line of sight to drivers. And because not all speed limits are sign-posted but based on road rules and regulations, vehicles will also need to get speed limit information from a digital map.

In addition to displaying the speed limit, an audio-visual warning will alert drivers when they go faster than allowed. Some vehicles can support the driver further, by limiting acceleration when the speed limit is reached.

While many drivers have good intentions when it comes to the speed limit, sticking to it is not always simple, because more than 60% of road signs are implicit. This means the speed limit is not directly displayed on the sign or there is no sign at all. City entry signs of general country-wide speed limits for different types of roads are such examples. And this is why ISA will need a digital map to support drivers, particularly when driving in an unfamiliar area or country.

Speaking on the webinar How will ISA affect Electronic Horizon and the Vehicle Life Cycle? Philip Hubertus, Senior Manager, Product Management – Automotive Driving Content, at HERE explained how this is experienced by drivers.

“Sometimes, speed limit signs are not visible or barely visible because of bad weather or challenging light conditions," he said. “Or foliage could be covering the sign. It can be as simple as lack of maintenance so that signs are not clear to read — and then there are signs that don't have the speed limit printed on them — so-called implicit speed limits.

"Different countries and cities have different rules and regulations about speed limits for certain types of roads. For instance, some countries have different speed limits on the same road depending on the time of day or the weather. That means a map is required to get this information as cameras will not be able to pick it up."

Having complete and accurate speed limit data is even more essential when you consider that the European Union has defined that the system must pick up the right speed limit with a 90% success rate. If not, the vehicle will not be approved to be sold. Speed limits change at a rate of 10% per year, so the data must be fresh to meet these standards.

Car manufacturers need highly accurate speed limits, a long-term guarantee that they will receive map updates, and ISA solutions with different feature levels.

HERE offers HERE ISA Map which includes the road network, specific attributes and both the explicit and implicit speed maps. HERE Maps for ADAS and HAD offer all of that with added ADAS features such as the data required for lane-keeping and advanced cruise control systems.

An Electronic Horizon engine uses map data to show the car's position on the road and provide the speed limit, beyond what the driver can see.  

Image credit: Elektrobit.

Electronic Horizon and map data: the perfect combination

However, map data must be converted into actionable information for the driver and vehicle. That is where additional components such as the Elektrobit Electronic Horizon provide value.

 “The Electronic Horizon engine provided by Elektrobit can aggregate information and determine the car's position in relation to the map,” explained Dirk Spiesswinkel, Product Manager at Elektrobit. “Without this position information, the map information is useless.”

The system uses dead reckoning to find the vehicle's position in space. This is critical as GNSS signals sometimes do not work, for instance, in tunnels or areas with lots of tall buildings. A high level of accuracy is essential for the driver or vehicle to be able to make the right decision.

This data can be communicated to the driver and vehicle in the format that works for the SAE level of autonomy that the vehicle has — either the driver will act, or the vehicle will do it for them.

Under the ISA regulations, drivers must receive free map updates for at least seven years after they buy the vehicle. Car manufacturers can decide how frequently the map is updated, though monthly updates are recommended.

Ultimately, these technologies will not only help manufacturers with compliance: they could also reduce emissions, save fuel and help to save lives.

Enhance your Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) system. Use high-quality global speed limit data to support legal compliance and driver safety.

Beth McLoughlin 2023

Beth McLoughlin

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