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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 May, 2003, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Experts test 'intelligent' cars
Cars on road
Drivers in Leeds will pilot a speed limit scheme
Research trials looking at how a group of drivers behave when their speeds are controlled will begin in Leeds next week.

The research, piloted by the University of Leeds and a motor industry research panel have modified 20 cars to examine how driving changes when they use vehicles which detect and adhere to speed limits.

The trials will consider driver behaviour both with, and without, the speed limiters in vehicles using global positioning technology which tells the car where it is, and what the speed limit is.

Each time the limit on the road changes, the driver will be alerted to that change.

The accelerator pedal then vibrates when the limit is reached and the car cannot exceed the limit - unless the driver opts out of the system by braking, stopping or accelerating.

We're not planning to make the use of speed limiting technology mandatory, but we're keen to see what we can learn from this trial
Road safety minister David Jamieson
Driver opt-outs are allowed by using buttons on the steering wheel of using an over-ride kick down on the accelerator pedal.

David Jamieson, Road Safety Minister said: "We're not planning to make the use of speed limiting technology mandatory, but we're keen to see what we can learn from this trial."

Earlier research suggested that vehicles using an "intelligent speed limiter" with a driver-select function could reduce fatal accidents by 19% and injury accidents by 10%.

  • 20 cars have been equipped with the technology, each having a volunteer driver for six months. There will be four sets of trials, involving 80 drivers in all.

    The BBC's Kevin Bocquet
    "Global positioning technology means the system can be updated as speed limits are changed"

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