New technology which automatically reduces how fast vehicles are travelling could remove the need for speed limit signs in the future.

Often cities and towns limit speeds around schools, hospitals and shopping areas but signs can often be concealed by branches or surrounded by a cluster of other signs.

Now Ford is trialling connected vehicle technology using geofencing which creates a virtual geographical boundary.

“Connected vehicle technology has the proven potential to help make everyday driving easier and safer to benefit everyone, not just the person behind the wheel,” said Michael Huynh, manager, City Engagement Germany, Ford of Europe.

“Geofencing can ensure speeds are reduced where – and even when – necessary to help improve safety and create a more pleasant environment.”

Technologies to help ensure drivers do not exceed speed limits already exists but Ford said its Geofencing Speed Limit Control system was potentially more flexible and effective than on-board systems.

The trial, being carried out in Germany until March 2023, connects the vehicle to the geofencing system for GPS tracking and data exchange. The driver receives the information via the dashboard display cluster, with the new speed limit flashing below the current speed. The vehicle automatically reduces speed in line with the geofenced zone. The driver can override the system and deactivate the speed limit control at any time.

Ford said in the future the technology could enable drivers to set their own geofencing zones at speeds as low as 20 km/h, including at depots and private facilities. Speed limits could also be set dynamically, to take into account local hazards, temporary road works and the time of day.