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Device Stops Speeders From Inside Car 781

Posted by Zonk
from the will-it-help-me-parallel-park-too dept.
frdmfghtr writes "CNN reports that the Canadian government is testing a new anti-speeding device." From the article: "The system being tested by Transport Canada, the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. Department of Transportation, uses a global positioning satellite device installed in the car to monitor the car's speed and position. If the car begins to significantly exceed the speed limit for the road on which it's traveling the system responds by making it harder to depress the gas pedal, according to a story posted on the Toronto Globe and Mail's Website."
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Device Stops Speeders From Inside Car

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  • well.... (Score:4, Funny)

    by xao gypsie (641755) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:40PM (#14179816)
    It looks like we would all need tin foil hats for our cars......
    • Re:well.... (Score:3, Funny)

      by flawedgeek (833708)
      Or just a tinfoil car.
    • It looks like we would all need tin foil hats for our cars......
      Reminds me of mythbusters where they actually wrapped a car in foil to see if it would affect radar.
  • Hang on... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gregbains (890793)
    This seems a little complex, "making it harder to press the gas pedal".

    Why not just use a cruise control type system to limit the speed?
    • Re:Hang on... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Albert Sandberg (315235) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:42PM (#14179850) Homepage
      because overtaking is sometimes a good thing.
    • Re:Hang on... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Artega VH (739847) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:47PM (#14179895) Journal
      Because limiting the speed can actually be dangerous in certain circumstances.

      Say you're driving along a two lane road (1 lane in both directions) stuck behind a slow truck. Cars are piled up behind you. I'm sure most drivers have been in this situation before. When you overtake the car behind you will move up to your old position stopping you from going back. If while you're on the wrong side of the road you see a car coming towards you it may be necessary to speed to complete the overtaking move. The proposed system would appear to allow for this while a set speed limiter may not. I'd prefer to speed than to die wouldn't you?
  • by DoraLives (622001) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:40PM (#14179823)
    we'll think we're the luckiest people in the world just to be allowed IN the damn car, nevermind the fact that it'll only go where the Cognizant Authorities tell it to go, when and how they prescribe.
    • You do realize... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Animaether (411575) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @07:35PM (#14180853) Journal
      ...that you're basically describing public transport, right ?

      If you're sucking on a giant icecream cone - don't be surprised if you're not allowed onto the bus.
      The bus only goes where the government decides it should go.
      It only goes when the government decides it should go.
      And, lo and behold, along the route the government decides it to go.

      There's just one thing... almost everywhere except for the U.S., public transport -works-, and works *so* well that there are millions who not only see it as a viable alternative to their car (if they even have one), but they prefer it.

      The car is not a symbol of freedom - it's a mode of transportation which is regulated like any other, except that you have even more responsibilty. And, sadly, there are many who do -not- drive their cars responsibly, making it possible for these types of limitations to be implemented. It's a shame that a few should 'ruin' it for the rest. But, do tell, what bit of not being allowed to speed is ruining exactly what ?

      Now if, on the other hand, you're pondering the gov't always knowing where you are... I wholly agree :) -that- is none of their business. How fast I drive, however, is very much their business. How fast you drive when you're coming up behind me is also very much my business.

      This is for the more extreme people who share your view...
      Roll back a few decades to when seatbelts became law... would you also have said "Before this is over, we'll think we're the luckiest people in the world just to be allowed IN the damn car..." etc. ? Did 'the slippery slope' start there ? Or do some measures actually just make sense ?
      • Re:You do realize... (Score:3, Informative)

        by binarybum (468664)
        "The car is not a symbol of freedom"

                Are you from the US? Do you remember being a teenager? Have you ever seen a car commercial? Do you realize how much the automobile has changed the physical/social/political landscape of this country?

            I suggest this course. [ferris.edu]

        • by Animaether (411575) on Monday December 05, 2005 @07:17AM (#14183742) Journal
          No, yes, yes, yes in that order - I suggest the basic socioeconomic courses we get here in high school - they're a bit less concerned with the "omgwtf we rule 'cos we have CARS! F*ck public transport! YEEE-HAW!!!" history and a bit more with the "holy crap did we ever screw ourselves over by placing all shopping facilities including groceries at least 5 miles from any sane living spot just because we have cars that can take us there - now we're all frequently stuck in gridlock despite 5-lane highways, have less parking spots than we have cars, see more traffic-related injuries and death than the vast majority of other countries and are paying up the wazoo* for gas!"

          (* ignoring that it's much more expensive in most other areas of the world - though it's much cheaper in Venezuela, of course ;) )

          I'd be interested in the 'what the future likely holds' bit, though - back when I had the course in high school, the future held this:
          more cars
          even more, wider, highways
          more land making way for parking plots (they even predicted that parking garages would never become popular - despite taking up less space. right they were.. after all, how would you drive an Excursion around in what would have been the then-typical parking garage?)
          more distance between shopping and living
          'islands' for shopping, rather than lanes.

          In other words, the downward spiral continued.

          So yes, I'd be interested in that bit - see if that's been revised since then. *eyes greyhounds and such, currently* somehow I doubt it :)
  • by Dashing Leech (688077) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:40PM (#14179825)
    This'll ruin chase scenes in movies. I guess they can't film in Canada anymore. If they get this in L.A., what will they put on the news?
    • by symbolic (11752) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @06:31PM (#14180510)

      I don't think these will last very long.

      I found a recent article about red-light cameras that had been installed at various local intersections. The article made interesting mention of the fact that some of the yellow lights were timed as low as three seconds, which unquestionably does not provide enough notice to bring the vehicle to safe stop. You have two choices: slam on the breaks and hope there is noone in back of you, or continue, which will most likely have you entering the intersection on a red light.

      This provides an excellent revenue source for both the city, and insurance companies- the city can impose a fine, and the insurance company can raise your rates. In fact, one of our local interstates generated over $13,000,000 in speeding fines (from cameras). Ethics aside (there don't appear to be any in this business) do you honestly think local governments are going to think very highly of a device that will deny it such a substantial source of revenue?
  • Over Engineering (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dial-Up (842218)
    Wouldn't it just be easier and cheaper to use the internal computers to do that? The cars with the digital spedometers know how fast you're going for sure, the analogue ones probably do too.
  • by Daspek (132130) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:41PM (#14179829)
    but would this have any effect on people with lead feet?
  • How reliable is this? If it were to malfunction, couldn't this cause some pretty massive wrecks? How can we trust this? Where can I buy a tin-foil hat for my car?
  • I wonder how long before people will be sued for using their cruise control to bypass the rigid accelerator pedal? Under the DMCA of course.
  • Safety issues? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phroggy (441) * <slashdot3&phroggy,com> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:42PM (#14179843) Homepage
    What a stupid idea. In an emergency, it may be necessary to accelerate quickly, e.g. to get out of the way of another vehicle that's swerving into your lane, etc. If the behavior of the gas pedal suddenly changes in the middle of a crisis, it could CAUSE an accident.

    Or, let's say you've got a 25mph residential street that turns onto a 50mph highway. You're driving along at 50mph, and suddenly the GPS system mistakenly thinks you're close enough to the residential street that you should now be going 25mph. The ensuing weirdness with the gas pedal distracts the driver for a moment. Fantastic.

    Have you ever seen an incorrect (possibly simply out of date) street on Mapquest/Yahoo/Google Maps? I wonder how that sort of thing might affect this.

    I would have no problem with using this technology to light up a warning light on the dashboard or something, but directly affecting the control of the vehicle sounds like a VERY bad idea to me. As long as we still trust humans to operate the steering wheel, we need to trust them to operate the gas as well.
    • It's sponsored by Fox, because they needed new TV show ideas - this one will be "When Speed Regulators Kick In".
    • war time (Score:3, Funny)

      by vlad_petric (94134)
      The main problem with such a system is that in some cases it will actually contribute to accidents. Now, the United States significantly decrease the accuracy of the GPS system in war time (understandably so). Are we gonna see more car accidents in Canada when the US goes to war ?
    • Re:Safety issues? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Reziac (43301) *
      Personally I think the safety issue is the worst problem with this incredibly stupid idea.

      How can some GPS know whether you need emergency acceleration or not?? How can it know whether you're passing a long string of cars (oh, I see -- by *their* GPS tags) or maybe serving as an unofficial emergency transport, where you might need to speed significantly for more than a few moments? And imagine this being applied where the driving conditions are already hazardous, and any unplanned or unexpected change of ac
  • traffic jams using cellphone data. Of course they are now they are saying they blatantly going to infringe upon our privacy.
    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/11/19/07 45248&tid=126&tid=215&tid=158 [slashdot.org]
  • Hell, why not just issue a speeding ticket out of the dashboard?

    "John Spartan, you are fined one credit for violation of the verbal language statute..."

    Seriously, though, this is just a bit too invasive.
  • This is insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JudgeFurious (455868) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:43PM (#14179858)
    From time to time it becomes necessary to punch the hell out of the gas pedal to get out of a situation where you are about to get killed by another vehicle driven by a fucktard. The idea that my car is going to start resisting me when I try to get out of that fucktard's way is unacceptable. I hope this dies a quick death and doesn't gain any interest in the US. M.A.D. This isn't just a bad idea. This is a top ten bad idea.
    • Maybe. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Inoshiro (71693)
      They mention that it's ".. the car begins to significantly exceed the speed limit for the road .."

      The key word here is in bold. Doing 200 in a 50 zone? Not ok. The brief burst to 60 or 65 to avoid a swerve into your lane (total time elapsed, 1.3s + reaction time)? Probably fine.

      No need to be reactionary, just trying to take the dumb out of dumb drivers.

      The less humans are in the system, the more we can weed out mistakes. I'd rather have a car hit me because of a malfuction than an old man who happened
  • by Antony-Kyre (807195) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:44PM (#14179865)
    What if someone had an emergency and needed to speed (even if it's wreckless to do so anyways)?

    What if someone is pregnant or hurt seriously and needed to get to the hospital quick? What if it's the dead of night and no one is on the road? Do you follow the 55 mph speed limit (yes, I know it's Canada, not America) or do you proceed to go up to 70-80 mph?
    • by agraupe (769778) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:47PM (#14179902) Journal
      I would hope people try to drive wrecklessly. I believe the word you were looking for was recklessly.
    • by Seumas (6865) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:02PM (#14179989)
      It's Canada. What's the point of driving 70mph in an emergency to get to a hospital where you're going to have to wait for six months before they'll see you? :D
      • by Tim Browse (9263) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:20PM (#14180101)
        Michael Moore (so possibly biased, YMMV, contents may have settled during transit, etc) did this thing once where he send 3 people into hospitals who were faking the same injury (sprained/damaged ankle, I think, or possibly something to do with their foot). Only he sent one to a US hospital, one to a Canadian hospital, and one to a Cuban hospital.

        The one in Cuba was seen and dealt with the most quickly, then the one in Canada, then the one in the US. I believe the overall 'quality' of service was also best in Cuba. The guy in the US was left in a corridor on a wheelchair with one leg raised, where people kept walking into his bandaged foot.

        So, utterly anecdotal and certainly hardly scientific (well, it is Michael Moore), but it makes you wonder. It's just a shame about the free speech/human rights issues they have there though.

        I mean in Cuba, not the US...then again, the US seems to outsource their human rights violations to Cuba these days ;-)

  • by Kotukunui (410332) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:44PM (#14179867)
    I would never voluntarily buy a car that had those restrictive devices placed on it. If it were made mandatory by government order, I would vote for any political party that promised to remove those restrictions.

    I take responsibility for the task of driving, thank you.
    It's all those other nutcases out there that need to be regulated.(irony intended)
  • CameraWatch2. Gives acoustic warning on overspeed.
  • Prior Art (Score:5, Funny)

    by n0dalus (807994) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:44PM (#14179869) Journal
    We already have this -- It's called a Wife. They alert you when you're going over the speed limit and make it increasingly difficult to press on the accelerator.
  • Tunnels? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Zorgoth (68241)
    What happens in a tunnel? No signal, I would assume, yet one would hope the car continues to operate normally. If that is the case, just surround the receiver with lead and block the signal to the car. Problem solved.
  • by victorvodka (597971) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:45PM (#14179878) Homepage
    If the scope of this system can be expanded such that it can also make the brake harder to depress when the driver is driving less than the speed limit, that would be like totally awesome. I can't tell you how many times I've been stuck behind a granny (or person with Florida tags), wincing in anticipation of every curve in the road, no matter how gentle, which I know will bring up those infernal brake lights. And, just as a tangent, simply because there's a car in the oncoming lane doesn't mean a rapid deceleration is prudent!
  • What happens if you need to accelerate to avoid a crash?

  • Cool, if I lived in Canada, then I could get a leg work out while driving to college every morning...
  • by ChazeFroy (51595) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:46PM (#14179886) Homepage
    How long until the makers and implementers of this device are sued when a driver cannot escape from a raging lunatic or stalker who is in pursuit?
  • Anyone think of the instances where going above the speed limit is necessary - traffic issues, defensive driving, emergencies? This program seems like it would put more hassle than anything. If you are in a hurry, you shouldn't speed (that is right) - but if there is an emergency, or if you are avoiding a traffic accident, going above the speed limit is basically needed. I think more thought should be put into this program first before they force these sort of regulations without any exceptions. Think of not being able to do a manuever to avoid an accident because your car limits you.

    Plus, everyone's seen school buses with their regulators, going 60mph on the highway. No one wants to be like them.
  • by httpamphibio.us (579491) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:48PM (#14179905)
    How many times have you been passed by some idiot who barely makes it between you and the semi barreling down on him? Imagine what's going to happen to you when he can't accelerate any faster and swings the steering wheel into your car at the last second when he realizes he's not going to make it? Awesome! Safety!

    If everyone was logical, rational, and never did anything stupid, this would be fine... but the stupidity of others is always going to put people in danger, and this will just make it worse.
  • by Chaffar (670874) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:53PM (#14179933)
    I will lose all respect of the Canadian government if they actually try to implement such a device. I thought that the German Autobahn should've been a lesson to the world that it's not speed in itself that is dangerous, it's having unsafe cars being driven on unsafe roads by irresponsible people.

    What do the Germans have that we don't? Are they smarter (don't answer that), are they better drivers, do they have better roads ? Well the answer is IMHO yes. They aren't smarter, but they are more responsible behind the wheel... they aren't better drivers, their driving license is MUCH harder to get; they have better roads, but they also have WELL MAINTAINED CARS.

    So in essence, the Germans are happily driving at 250+ Km/h on their autobahns without having significantly more accidents than us, because they have much higher standards when it comes to issuing drivers' licenses, they have suited roads, and their cars go through a very strict mechanical check-up every year, to make sure they are road-legal.

    So stop pointing fingers at just speed, and start admitting that the reason we crash as much as we do is because we have too many sh*tty cars with sh*tty drivers. Period.

    • Germany can have strict requirements for cars and driver's licenses because they have an excellent public transit system and a car is a luxury. In the US, a car is a basic necessity. Thus, we have to let pretty much everyone drive pretty much anything, since cars are usually the only possible mode of transport. Of course, with less-skilled drivers, you have to set the speed limits reasonably low to keep accidents down.
    • by DancesWithBlowTorch (809750) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:55PM (#14180307)
      Sorry, but you got a few things wrong. Although you might be essentially right, let me be a Fact-Nazi (got it? A German, calling himself a Nazi. Funny, huh? Aw...):

      1. The mandatory check-up (so-called "Hauptuntersuchung") is every _other_ year, and only after four years for a new car. Still, judging from what I see on `Pimp my ride', it is possible in the states to drive cars that would never be allowed on public streets in Germany.

      2. Nobody is "happily driving at 250+ Km/h". Yes, I have been overtaken by the occasional Porsche doing 300 km/h (~190 mph) and Mercs at 220 km/h are not exactly a rare sight, but these people are notorious for closing up to an arm's reach of your bumper with headlights flashing; and they are generally considered arseholes with tiny wangs.

      3. About 60% of the Autobahn network (that's an estimate, I couldn't be bothered to look it up) have speed limitation, typically 120 km/h. That doesn't stop people from speeding there, but they get caught sooner or later (the Autobahn police squad sports disguised, camera-fitted cars with appropriate engines)

      4. From what I hear from friends with American licenses, you are right about driving licences.

      5. Accidents don't happen on Autobahns. They happen on county roads with sharp curves, crossroads and narrow passages. Due to the Autobahn's construction (or any other Highway's, for that matter), head-on crashes are nearly impossible, and deadly crashes are much rarer than they are on county roads (believe me, I am an EMT...)
    • by jc42 (318812) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @07:14PM (#14180742) Homepage Journal
      I will lose all respect of the Canadian government if they actually try to implement such a device.

      Well, I'll lose all respect for their product test cycle if it ever gets out of alpha testing.

      We've had a Garmin 3600 GPS gadget for a couple of years. It's a nice tool, but you quickly learn that it has certain, uh, limits.

      For example, I often take a local street to avoid a busy stretch of our local super-highway (Boston's Route 128). The two roads are only about 10-20m apart for part of the drive, and the GPS map often shows me jumping back and forth between them. The speed limit on one is about twice the limit on the other.

      Similarly, if I'm on the main highway, my GPS position often shows as the nearby frontage road. So the proposed gadget would show me going 2-3 times the speed limit of the street that it thinks I'm on. I'm not sure that trying to slow me down to 25 mph on a busy super-highway is all that wonderful an idea. And this problem isn't limited to adjacent "frontage" roads; sometimes my GPS position puts me on a street a block away from my real position.

      I've seen cases where my GPS position was more than a mile from my real position. This lasts a few minutes, and then suddenly corrects itself. I wonder if the US military is again playing games with the satellites. But I don't know.

      This afternoon, I was driving south on a local street in a nearby town. I glanced at the GPS gadget, and suddenly it showed me headed north on the street at around 150 mph. A few seconds later, it showed me headed south at my actual position, but at over 200 mph. Then my speed dropped back to around 30. I wonder what the proposed gadget would do with my gas pedal and/or brake in this situation?

      This gadget has the ability to record a trip, including times, positions and speed. I recently looked at this after a trip, and was a bit amused when it said that my top speed was 350 mph. I've been contemplating the prospect (proposed seriously by some people) that such devices be installed in cars for evidence to be used in court.

      In real life, the guys doing the programming and testing have some very interesting problems on their hands.

      Actually, I think these problems are interesting. I wonder how one might get a job working on such problems? It seems to me that they might be solvable. But it also seems to me that Garmin hasn't solved them yet. Stories from other GPS users are similar, so apparently nobody (or maybe no commercial developer) has solved them yet.

      Of course, for uses like they intended, they don't really need to fix these petty inaccuracies. Users just get a chuckle now and then and quickly learn the gadget's foibles. But making the device responsible for part of the vehicle's operation or use of GPS data by the legal system are something rather different.

      My prediction is that it will fail and quietly disappear during alpha testing. Of course, it's always possible that the bureaucracy will ignore this and decree use of the technology anyway. It wouldn't be the first time that stuff was debugged by the victims^Wcustomers.

    • by r00t (33219)
      American cars typically get unstable at 75 mph (121 km/h). The steering, which has lots of play to begin with, starts to be simultaneously mushy and touchy. The hood latch may pop. (had it happen) There is a feeling of lift, as if the car is starting to act like a wing.

      My Volkswagen Passat, a pretty mid-range German car I guess, is rock solid at least to 130 mph (209 km/h).

      Then there's the story of a car exam in Germany, as encountered by a former coworker of mine. After noticing a bit of rust, two examiner
  • Red Barchetta (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:11PM (#14180041) Homepage Journal
    87 comments - and not a one mentioning Red Barchetta? What is wrong with you people?
  • by jesterpilot (906386) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:30PM (#14180154) Homepage
    I can't wait for the 14,357 comments saying the most fundamental human right is the freedom to break speed laws. Scientific research showing speeding increases the risk of mortal accidents and basic physics telling higher speeds increases emissions of CO2 and other pollutants will definitely be a fascist complot. A fast car will be more fundamental to survival than food and fresh water. People without a car will a) be fanatic terrorist hippies, or b) not exist.

    In e-discussions on environmental related topics, Godwin's law holds true for the words "middle ages" and "stone age".
  • by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:50PM (#14180286)
    On the off-chance that no one has patented a GPS spoofer yet, let this post be prior art to keep the idea in the public domain.

    There are soo many of these cockamamie schemes coming out that depend on GPS - for examaple california was floating a mandatory GPS logger for highway use taxes - that there is certain to be a big market for GPS spoofers. The signals from the GPS satellites should be faint enough that overpowering them in a radius of say, 10 meters ought to be feasible with a handheld-sized device.

    In this case, I see two popular uses.

    1) Spoof your own GPS to "unlock" the accelerator. Make it think you are always in the booneys on a highway with an 80mph limit (or one with no limit in the system's database).

    2) Spoof that idiot in front of you who is driving too slow or the jerk tailgating you. Put him in a school zone with limit of 10mph and watch him come to a near stand-still - slowpoke will eventually pull over to the shoulder and let you pass while the tailgater will quickly fall off your tailgate.
  • by spinfire (148920) <dpn@isomerica.net> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:52PM (#14180291) Homepage
    If you implement systems like this, or other speed enforcement techniques like photo radar, the DOT needs to fix the underposted speed limits first. Traffic engineering rules specify that a good speed limit is the 85th percentile speed of unrestricted (IE, not stuck in traffic, not being enforced by a cop) traffic, rounded up to the nearest multiple of five. Studies show that this speed is the safest speed to drive at, regardless of any artificially chosen "limit" which is clearly not a limit in any sense of the word because the limits are routinely disobeyed.

    If you want people to take speed limits seriously you need to make the limits appropriate and enforce them appropriately. A favorite trick in many states is to post a rediculously low (20 or 30mph under the prevailing traffic speed) work zone speed limit where no actual work is occuring. Then a police officer sits there and pulls over the people at the high end of the normal traffic speeds and tickets them. This behavior is unsafe, unfair, increases distrust of law enforcement and leads people to believe the whole traffic system is a scam.

    A local expressway here is posted at 65. People typically drive between 65 and 80. Some drive faster. 80 is a completely safe speed on this road (in good conditions) and the off duty police drive much faster on their way home. A reasonable solution would be to set the limit at 80 or 85. Most people wouldn't drive that fast. I know most of the time I'd stick around 70 for fuel mileage but knowing it was legal to accelerate faster than that for passing or traffic maneuvers would increase safety.
  • by Jaime2 (824950) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:57PM (#14180314)
    Speed enforcement needs to change. A few years ago, the speed limit on all major closed highways in New York was 55mph or less. The State Police would give you a ticket for going 64 and then give you a lecture that it was all for public safety, in other words, going faster was going to cause someone to die. Well, then they raised the cap to 65mph for highways without a lot of entrances and exits (usually about one every 3 miles or more). And guess what, the highway death rate has decreased!!!! I'm sure the death rate didn't decrease because of higher speeds, but it sure didn't go up because of the speed.

    Speed enforcement is a money game here in the US. No one really cares if the roads are safer, they just want ticket money. I even heard of a recent case where a districy raised the budget for ticket collection by $1,000,000 without even consulting the Police Department. They simply told them to go out and get more money.

    Here's where it gets good..... If cars were elecronically limited to never speed, then speed enforcement would become a dead industry. Fewer and fewer cars would speed as old cars are replaced by new. Then the police would go do something productive (like watch for people running stop signs, or suddenly changing lanes in front of a car, or something else that actually kills people). One good thing already. Now, someone has to provide the data that the in-vehicle speed limiters use. Some day they're going to screw up and label a section of a 55mph road 15mph or something similar. In the first day, they will cause thousands of traffic accidents and probably a few deaths. Imaging if half the cars on the 405 in LA suddenly slowed to less than a quarter of the speed limit and THEY were panicking because they are as confused as they guy coming up behind them. After that day (and the lawsuits) no company will want to control the system. There goes the speed limiters and the police have already taken up more fruitful pursuits. Yea!!!

    With a country that loves cars and lawsuits as much as we do, it couldn't happen any other way.
    • Imaging if half the cars on the 405 in LA suddenly slowed to less than a quarter of the speed limit and THEY were panicking because they are as confused as they guy coming up behind them.

      I believe those are called 'weekdays'
  • Yay! Finally!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@gmBOHRail.com minus physicist> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @06:50PM (#14180606) Journal
    Some years ago, at $CANADIAN_UNIVERSITY, I had a computer project management class whose teacher was a moonlighting project manager for the Royal Canadien Maudit Police.

    Over the course of the session, each team had to submit a project outline. The only catch was that it had to be of interest to law enforcement. You can imagine the groans in the classroom when he said that...

    Even though my team would have nothing of it, I proposed to the teacher a black-box that would automagically ticket bad driving.

    When the teacher heard that, his face suddenly blank, and instead of his usually happy answers, he responded an extremely curt "no, anyway it's coming" that was so curt that it drew the air out of me.

    I'm glad that it's finally there.

    * * *

    And now, time to repeat my usual hardass statement about driving:

    Driving performed on **PUBLIC** roads being public, one shall not have any expectation of privacy whilst doing so.

    Driving is a ***PRIVILEGE***, not a right, so your licenses can be pulled at will if you drive like stupid monkeys on drugs.

    • Re:Yay! Finally!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by photon317 (208409)

      Nothing is a privelege, you've been brainwashed by the Canadians too long. It's basically your inherent right to do whatever you damn well please, so long as it doesn't *directly* interfere with someone else doing whatever they damn well please. Anything else is an artificial control construct designed to keep powerful entities in power, directly or indirectly.
  • by FuryG3 (113706) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @07:02PM (#14180684)
    ...should get this first. You know, mail men, dog-catchers, the guys who legislated this product's use, and of course, police officers!

    -Derek
  • by somewhere in AU (628338) <alexm@findmap.com.au> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @07:33PM (#14180833) Homepage
    It's technically defined as going over the posted limit, set by the responsible authorities, and the understanding is that this is BAD ALL THE TIME.. right? WRONGO!

    Driving on the road involves an infinite amount of constant judgement and "the speed limit" is only but one..

    Around here they fiddled with zone change no less than 3 times on the edge of country town in 18 months meaning that a stretch of 200 m changed it status UP *and* DOWN from 50->80->50 km/h and WHERE this changeover varied by that distance.

    So without ANY change in road and traffic conditions (town hasn't changed in 16 years we've been here) you could be doing 80, which is fine here, but under change 1 you're suddenly deemed to be doing 30 km/h OVER.. so this is BAD right!!??

    so if a cop pings you you're so much toast! Try arguing with roadside cop about that (happened to me!) let alone teh courts - who rely mightily on the comparison of is "speed A > limit B" ?

    But THEN they change their mind and bit of road you got pinged for then changes BACK to being included in outside 80 zone by the signs being moved further BACK towards town..

    So NEXT time you do 80 (your reasonable speed being a constant here under the conditions) then you're suddenly deemed to be OK!!!???!!

    Yet the only thing that has changed is the damn numbering..

    Now I would argue in genuine situations such as crowded areas, schools, shopping area etc OF COURSE you drive with total limit AND safety adherence..

    It would be HORRIBLE to mixup GPS control with all this as the maps would be totally screwed up and the driver MUST take responsbility 100% of the time - no matter what this magic (money earning) (low) limit is...

    Our govt here just issues licences and reaps big money in fines by engineering ridiculous limits and you rarely have a legal chance in hell of challenging it..
  • by rollingcalf (605357) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @07:34PM (#14180848)
    Suppose the actual speed limit is 60 for a particular stretch of highway, but the data was incorrectly entered as 30. Or due to signal interference, the computer temporarily thinks the car is on a different road with a low speed limit. All of a sudden the car slows down unexpectedly. That is a recipe for an accident.
  • by SagSaw (219314) <slashdot@mSLACKWAREmoss.org minus distro> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @07:55PM (#14180945)
    In most newer cars, there is no mechanical connection between the accelerator pedal and any part of the engine resposible for controlling the flow of fuel and/or air. Instead, the accelerator pedal contains two or more (for redundancy) pedal position sensors which report the position of the accelerator pedal to the engine computer. The engine computer then determines based on the accelerator pedal position (and a whole lot of other factors) how much fuel and air to deliver to the engine to produce the amount of torque or power desired by the driver. This is known as an Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) system.

    Unlike older cars which have an actuator to physically move the throttle cable when the cruise control is enabled, an actuator would have to be added to the accelerator pedal in order to provide any sort of force feedback to the driver indicating that he has exceeded the speed limit. The addition of an actuator to the accelerator pedal is unlikely to happen for a number of reasons:

    Cost. ETC Acclerator pedals are fairly inexpensive to produce. Adding an actuator and control system will double or triple the cost of an accelerator pedal.

    Space. The under-dash area of a vehicle is an extremely cramped space. This has pushed the size of accelerator pedals to the minimum practicle size. (Note: I'm talking about the size of the pedal housing which contains the pedal position sensors, return springs, hysteresis force mechanisms, etc, not the size of the pedal pad which your foot depresses) Adding an actuator will increase the size of the pedal so that it wouldn't fit in a modern vehicle.

    Safety. The last thing you want to have happen is for any accelerator pedal (ETC or otherwise) to get stuck in any position other than idle. Adding a device to make it hard to push on the pedal seems like a real good way to accidently stick the pedal in an undesireable position (probably the position it was in when the vehicle was going to fast to begin with).

  • by Macdude (23507) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @08:44PM (#14181202)
    I really wish people would read the article before starting to rant but at least read the fucking submission!

    If the car begins to significantly exceed the speed limit for the road on which it's traveling the system responds by making it harder to depress the gas pedal

    Point number one: it says "If the car begins to significantly exceed the speed limit", it does not say "if the car exceeds the speed limit by the teensiest amount". So it would only start functioning after you've passed 130 in a 100 zone (example numbers made up by me based on what is considered excessive speed under the law).

    Point number two: it says "responds by making it harder to depress the gas pedal", it does not say prevents the car from increasing its speed. So you're doing 130 in a 100 zone you have to press the gas peddle harder to hit 140 than you would if the device wasn't there giving you terrific feedback that you're driving SIGNIFICANTLY above the speed limit.

    Point number three: It says nothing about these devices being mandated (in most cases they would be easy to bypass), if you don't want one in your car don't install one.

    Point number four: The number of accidents that could be avoided with excessive speed is vanishingly small. It's very rare that a person's best option to avoid an accident is to "gun it", which (see above) you can still do!

    Point number five: For the miniscule number of accidents that speeding up will help you avoid -- the system is using GPS to calculate speed, it wouldn't be instantaneous, there would be a few second (at least) lag (latency for the geeks reading this) before the system kicks in. Plenty of time to avoid whatever accident you're almost part of.
  • by izomiac (815208) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @08:46PM (#14181212) Homepage
    Most of the rational behind why it's a bad idea that I've seen so far is because there are in fact a few situations where speeding for a short period of time is necessary. Well, that seems more like a minor oversight than an actual flaw with the device. If the increase in pressure were gradual, or perhaps only when you sped for more than, say, 20 seconds, wouldn't that make most counter-arguements moot? Notice that it doesn't actually prevent you from speeding, it just makes it more difficult. So in the unlikely event of an unpredicted disaster you could still speed all you want as you make your escape. (Of course, I doubt such things happen often in real life since enough people would wreak going that fast that the roads would probably become obstructed.) I mean, I understand that most people prefer going faster than the speed limit, but at least be honest about it. Don't dismiss the technology unless it's fundamentally flawed. My point is that if you do something illegal then you don't really have a right to complain if the authorites take measures to make it harder for you to do so.
  • Twister (Score:3, Funny)

    by AndyBarrow (62701) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @09:53PM (#14181529) Homepage
    "Okay honey, don't worry, we can outrun it. WHAT THE F***?!?!"

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers

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