From Ford to Ferrari, top speeds often make no sense, and technology is about to slow you down.
Brian CooleyEditor at Large
Brian Cooley is CNET's Editor at large and has been with the brand since 1995. He currently focuses on electrification of vehicles but also follows the big trends in smart home, digital healthcare, 5G, the future of food, and augmented & virtual realities. Cooley is a sought after presenter by brands and their agencies when they want to understand how consumers react to new technologies. He has been a regular featured speaker at CES, Cannes Lions, Advertising Week and the Publicis HealthFront. He was born and raised in Silicon Valley when Apple's campus was mostly apricots.
ExpertiseAutomotive technology, smart home, digital health.Credentials
The top speed in the US is 85 MPH on a few roads, and a lot lower on most. Yet many cars are built to hit 155 MPH or more. Why?
Volvo will limit its new cars to 112 MPH starting in 2020 as part of its Vision 2020 initiative. Why 112? That's the conversion from 180 km/h, still a very stout top speed but a lot lower than the common electronic limit of 155 MPH on many new cars today.
But wait, there's more.
Watch this: Speed-limit tech is about to take over
An increasing number of mainstream carmakers like Honda are also offering speed-limit-sign recognition via cameras on the models that also handle lane recognition for lane-departure control.
Citroen goes a step further, letting you press one button on the wheel to automatically set whatever the speed limit the car detected. A few cars in the EU have what is known as Active ISA, or Active Intelligent Speed Assist, which automatically sets your car's top speed to match the speed limit unless you override and by 2022, all new cars sold in the EU will be required to have it. The data that determines local speed limit can be gleaned from a camera, GPS database or radio beacon.
When Level 4 autonomous cars arrive, speed-limit tech will graduate to a new era: The end of driver involvement. Self-driving cars should unfailingly -- and sometimes infuriatingly -- follow speed limits and traffic laws to the letter.