London, 23 Aug 2006.
For immediate release.

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ISA is USELESS
ISA (Intelligent Speed Adaptation) should be re-named as USELESS (Unintelligent Speed Engineering Lowering Existing Safety Standards) says the Association of British Drivers.

The ISA system being planned by the government to control the speed of vehicles, has just two inputs, the speed of the vehicle and the posted speed limit, which it looks up from the location given by a satellite navigation system, and it matches one to the other. That is not intelligence — in no way can ISA be described as 'intelligent'.
 
Vehicles, however, really do need intelligent speed adaptation. We need an ISA system which as well as having an input of the vehicle's speed, has visual inputs so it can determine whether that speed is appropriate given the traffic pattern and likely actions of other road users.
 
The visual input would also enable the ISA system to determine the weather and state of the road surface and to tell in advance how gradients and bends in the road will affect the safe speed of the vehicle. Ideally the system would also have an audio input. The system should also have motion sensors built in to it, so it can tell how the vehicle is handling. It should have sufficient pre-learned data to be able to predict how different vehicles handle so as to be able to adjust the safe speed to that particular vehicle, and it should be continually adding to its store of learned data. And, of course, it should have a very powerful computer which can process all the inputs in real time and output the safe speed for that moment.
 
In addition to having control of the throttle and brakes, the ISA system should have control of the steering and ancillary controls as well. It should be programmed with an instinct for its own survival and self-preservation, as well as a strong desire not to cause damage to other such systems or to vehicles fitted with them.
 
When we can come up with a system which can do all that then they should be made compulsory on all vehicles.
 
But wait! We already have such a system. It's called a human being. All human beings which are allowed control of vehicles have visual inputs, most of them have audio inputs, they have motion sensors, huge stores of learned and pre-programmed data, and computer systems so powerful that they've taken millions of years to design. They also have an overwhelming survival instinct and a strong desire not to injure other humans or cause damage to property, which cause them to keep to a speed where risk of damage is minimised.
 
Why don't we just leave control of vehicles to the TRUE ISA systems — drivers?
 
ABD Chairman, Brian Gregory, said:
"The only real intelligence in a vehicle's control system is found between the ears of the driver. We blunt that intelligence at our peril."

 

 
Notes for Editors