In the not-too-distant future, your vehicle might help you avoid speeding tickets by slowing down on its own. Ford is currently testing technology that automatically matches speeds in designated virtual speed zones, all without reading signs or receiving any input from the driver. It's not quite as simple as it sounds, but it's not very complex, either.

The tech is called Geofencing Speed Limit Control, and it relies on multiple systems to function. Obviously it requires a vehicle with advanced connected systems and some measure of driver-assist functionality. From there, special software taps into the geofencing system for GPS tracking. In theory, information on speed limits in specific areas is received by the vehicle. Once the vehicle enters a specific zone, the speed is automatically set to match the limit. Unlike some cars that can read road signs and adjust speed, Ford's system relies on the virtual zone being established and the vehicle's position identified through GPS.

Gallery: 2022 Ford E-Transit

Trials of the system are currently underway in Cologne, Germany. Ford software engineers, Ford's City Engagement team, and city officials in both Cologne and Aachen have teamed up to dial in the system, which is being tested on two E-Transit vans. When approaching a zone, the driver receives a notification on the instrument cluster and the software adjusts the speed as needed. The driver has the ability to override the system at any time, and future versions could also let drivers establish their own zones in specific areas. The tech may also evolve to include factors such as time of day and construction zones.

"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 of city engagement Germany for Ford of Europe. "Geofencing can ensure speeds are reduced where – and even when – necessary to help improve safety and create a more pleasant environment."

The Geofencing Speed Limit Control trial is slated to run through March 2023.