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Anti-speeding tech and 'black box' now mandatory in new EU cars

By Ronan Glon - July 7, 2022·2 min read

After ruling that motorists can no longer buy a new petrol or diesel-powered car after 2035, European Union regulators have passed a law that makes anti-speeding technology and a so-called black box mandatory for all new cars.

The controversial features are a requirement in every car introduced after July 6, 2022, and they will become required in all new cars regardless of launch date starting in July 2024.

Also scheduled for July 6 are the universal installation of automatic emergency braking; the adaptive speed limiter (which manages the speed of the car according to the vehicle in front); and the reverse collision detection and driver alertness systems. These will be reflected in the price of new cars.

Much like its namesake in an aeroplane the black box will log all the technical data of your car – speed, direction, location, whether or not the doors are open or the seatbelts being used etc. – but unlike in planes, it will then make all that data available to law enforcement, whether or not there’s been an accident.

We know how this works. It’s surveillance in the name of “safety”.

The scheme will allegedly be “voluntary”, with drivers having the ability to opt-out of data logging, but if Covid vaccines have taught us anything it’s that “voluntary” doesn’t always mean really voluntary.

They also claim that the data will be anonymised…but do you really believe that?

This goes hand in hand with both the UK and EU fitting mandatory “speed limiters” to all new vehicles starting this year (2022).

The anti-speeding technology is called Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) in government-speak. European regulators explain that the system calculates the posted speed limit by analyzing either data from the navigation system or data sent by the traffic sign recognition technology.

If it detects that the driver is speeding it can perform one of four actions:

1: send out a visual or acoustic warning (like a warning message in the instrument cluster or a chime),

2: emit a series of vibrations (likely through the steering wheel),

3: provide haptic feedback through the accelerator pedal, or

4: automatically slow the car down to the posted limit.

Carmakers are free to choose how the system they adopt reacts.

Regulators stress that, for the time being, the driver can override the ISA (even the type that slows down the car) by simply pushing down the accelerator pedal. There's no word on what the system considers speeding, however. Are we talking 55 mph in a 50-mph zone or 95 mph on the highway? Similarly, officials haven't explained how they will ensure that the speed limit information fed to the ISA is accurate.

This seems to be part of a global trend of cracking down on vehicular freedom – in January Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill included a clause that all new vehicles must have remote “kill switches” installed by 2026.

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