Car Reads Road Signs For You

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As cars become smarter than the people driving them and do more of the things humans should be doing for themselves — checking blind spots, watching for lane departures, anticipating collisions — it was only a matter of time before a car started reading road signs.

The “Traffic Sign Recognition and Lane Departure Warning” system available early next year on General Motors’ new Euro-only Opel/Vauxhall Insignia scans the road ahead at 30 frames per second to read road signs and tell you when you’re wandering from your lane.

The most innovative aspect of the system is the road-sign recognition processor, which can read signs as far as 100 meters away.

The system uses two processors and a camera — called, appropriately, the Front Camera System — mounted near the rear-view mirror. One processor identifies familiar shapes, symbols and digits on common road signs and conveys the information to the driver via a digital display in the gauge cluster. The other alerts the driver when he or she strays from the lane.

“These new features follow Opel’s philosophy of enhancing driving excitement by assisting drivers without reducing their level of control,” says Hans Demant, managing director of GM Europe Engineering. “That means the system gives the drivers information, but it doesn’t intervene.”

We’re not entirely sure why GM thinks it’s easier to read a speed-limit sign on a tiny display between your speedometer and tachometer than on a big road sign. Dement says “a car that can see and warn the driver well in advance of potential hazards is another important step in our long-term accident prevention strategy.” GM Europe also is developing vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems that allow cars to exchange information about their position and speed.

Source: WIRED

Graphic by GM.

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One Response to “Car Reads Road Signs For You”

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