In Europe, Ford will read the speed limit signs, prevent your speeding

Good news for those of us with a fast car, a lead foot and poor impulse control: Ford is rolling out a new Speed Limiter feature. The car uses a camera to read the speed limit signs before giving you a heads up if your velocity is making you a police-magnet.

Woah, there, Jack. Take 'er easy.

Whoa, there, Jack. Take ‘er easy.

For now, the technology is only being rolled out on the company’s European line of cars, including the Edge, Galaxy and S-MAX vehicles. The Euro-market is a particularly good match for the technology, given that there are more than 35,000 speed cameras across Europe, and speeding tickets turning up in the mail is practically a national sport across much of the continent. Smile for the camera, indeed.

It’s yet another tiny piece of the self-driving car puzzle falling into place. In this case, in a car with the Intelligent Speed Limiter activated, a camera will read traffic signs ahead, adjusting the car’s speed without the driver needing to get involved. If the car you’re driving has a navigation package, it will augment the camera data with the speed limit data from the maps. Clever.

In effect, the speed nanny combines two technologies into the new, wallet-saving feature. The first is an adjustable speed limiter, which is a bit like cruise control, but instead of keeping your car at a fixed speed, it lets you drive normally but prevents you from going faster than your set speed limit. The second — and, frankly, more interesting — technology is traffic sign recognition, which shows you right on your dashboard the most recent passing restrictions, speed limit signs and other information.

You can see the technology in action in the video below.