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The Car That Reads Road Signs

Aug 16, 2008
At last a car maker has made a very positive step in assisting drivers to be aware of road warning signs regarding speed limits, no overtaking signs and lane markings. The system is suitable for use not only in the UK but also for Europe. These days its not unusual to see more road signs cluttered together than there are branches on an oak tree covering the same area, and as drivers we are supposed to see them all as we drive carefully by as there is no excuse in law not to!

How does it work? Very simple, the company in question, have positioned a mini-camera on the windscreen immediately behind the rear view mirror which can detect road signs ahead, its ground breaking technology enables it to take 30 still photos every second and then utilizes its image recognition software to identify the signs.

When a sign is detected the information is sent to an incar display which shows the speed limit for the driver, whether the driver has seen it or not. It will also sound an alert for the driver if that speed limit has changed recently. The system is also programmed to recognize any "no overtaking" signs and lane markings and will warn the driver if he/she has strayed out of their lane.

The camera is able to read the signs from a distance of 100 yards, is approximately the same size as a mobile phone and is connected to 2 signal processors that filter and read the signals. When the Lane Departure Warning function is turned on, it uses software to read traffic lanes and record a driver's normal lane-changing behaviour, taking into account steering input and indicator usage. If any deviation is detected, an audible and visual warning is sent from the instrument panel, preventing hazardous situations, such as a driver falling asleep at the wheel.

The company will the system installed in their new mid-range model, which will be available next year. They have pointed out that there are several valid reasons why this system will be of benefit to all road users and pedestrians.
a) In "safety zone" areas such as schools or playing fields speed limits can be better adhered to by utilizing this system.
b) It could lead to less distraction from keeping your eyes on the road and driving more safely.
c) The system would also help to balance the situation more in favour of the driver in areas where speed zones change and speed cameras have been placed, for revenue purposes rather than safety.
d) Drivers could minimize the risk of having penalty points added to their license.
e) In driving safely and not speeding less fuel will be used thus helping save the environment
About the Author
Bill is now retired but as a keen motorist has driven on most continents of the world and has a keen interest in environmental issues, these account for only a couple of his many varied interests. http://www.the-car-hub.co.uk/
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