Big Brother is slowly moving behind the wheel of our cars and we appear to be only a few short steps away from losing control of our driving all together. There are groups of respected motorists who have advocated abolishing speed limits all together, insisting that traffic speeds are self-regulating and better controlled by nature and natural selection. But there are definitely times when we would gladly give up a tiny bit of control if it meant keeping traffic congestion from getting out of hand. Automated cars have been tested and with manual overrides can actually be pretty effective in certain situations.
Buick's automated highway experiment
a decade ago and the countless
adaptive cruise control systems
on the market today show how useful electronics can be for traffic flow and safety. And now we have a system developed by Siemens VDO that could potentially keep any car cruising along at the posted speed limit so drivers can concentrate on their cell phones well driving, like they should be. (Sarcasm, of course)
Siemens VDO has developed a Traffic Sign Recognition system that will alert drivers if they're driving too fast. A camera will monitor the road ahead for speed limits on traffic signs. As the camera recognizes posted speeds, the information is processed and the driver warned if they are
. Not much of a leap to envision this system automatically slowing you down if you don't do it yourself, or even never allowing the vehicle to exceed that posted limit.
If that sounds a bit scary, it probably should. And Siemens VDO predicts it might be here before you know it. Production of this speed monitor system could start in less than two years. A similar system for educational institutions has been under development for some time now, but Siemens sees the automotive industry as a larger force towards getting the system to market. We have as much respect for the law as the next
driver, but there are clearly times when speeding can be necessary, such as accident avoidance or to outrun a dangerous situation. So hopefully the system can be configured to allow some variance or be overridden completely when necessary.
[Source: Motor Authority]