It didn't take the Amazing Kreskin or even George Orwell to see this coming. With the increasing popularity (and commensurately decreasing cost) of Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology, Canada is investigating in-car electronic variable speed governors designed to thwart drivers bent on ignoring posted limits. 

It was only a matter of time and will, as vehicles incorporating GPS-enabled sat-nav systems already monitor speed, direction and location in real-time.  But in this variation, the same basic technology is augmented with a digital speed map that actively enforces the posted limit, greatly retarding a vehicle's rate of acceleration after the speed limit is met.  Capping it altogether would likely prove the simple matter of a few programmer keystrokes.

Presumably, such systems would gain legal acceptance by designating certain domains for their use-- school and construction zones, perhaps. But it one needn't be Brock Yates to visualize the potential for this technology to seep into the wider roadscape.

[More detail and exposé after the jump]

Aside from the obvious potential impact on efficient travel and the fact that national death rates have essentially ebbed irrespective of speed limit increases, there are other practical sticking points: certain rare emergencies require expedient (read: speedy) responses.  Imagine the danger posed by driving a pregnant wife or sick child to the hospital, only to become ensnared by a GPS Big Brother that fails to realize the gravity of the situation. Indeed, there are common driving situations in which the ability to accelerate (at any speed) can keep one out of harm's way.

So, will this Canadian experiment find traction? It's hard to say. As compelling as such a system might be to "road safety advocates," it stands to rob municipalities and states of a major revenue stream: speeding tickets.  Ironically, the world's automobile enthusiasts may find their driving interests preserved by an unexpected ally: the law.

(Tipster nod to JS)

[Source: AOL Autos]



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