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Privacy Technology

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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  • Hang on... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gregbains (890793) <greg_bains.hotmail@com> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @03:40PM (#14179818) Homepage Journal
    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?
  • by DoraLives (622001) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @03:40PM (#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.
  • Over Engineering (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dial-Up (842218) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @03:41PM (#14179827)
    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.
  • Safety issues? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phroggy (441) * <slashdot3NO@SPAMphroggy.com> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @03:42PM (#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.
  • Re:Hang on... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Albert Sandberg (315235) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @03:42PM (#14179850) Homepage
    because overtaking is sometimes a good thing.
  • This is insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JudgeFurious (455868) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @03:43PM (#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.
  • by Antony-Kyre (807195) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @03:44PM (#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 Kotukunui (410332) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @03:44PM (#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)
  • by ChazeFroy (51595) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @03:46PM (#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.
  • Re:Hang on... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Artega VH (739847) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @03:47PM (#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 httpamphibio.us (579491) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @03:48PM (#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 anitha cn- (863678) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:04PM (#14180006)
    Seeing as this is in Canada, and the DMCA is an American act, I doubt the DMCA applies.
  • Re:Full Monty (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HairyCanary (688865) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:05PM (#14180010)
    IF you are going to allow a monitoring system inside the car, and IF you are just trying to remind the driver they are speeding, then why bother engineering a mechanical system at all? A noisemaker would be cheaper.
  • Re:Full Monty (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dun Malg (230075) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:12PM (#14180053) Homepage
    There are times (driving a ill or injured person to the hospital, for instance) that you need to speed.

    Those are not legitimate reasons to drive at excessive speeds. Accelerating out of a dangerous traffic situation: yes. Shaving fifty seconds off a ten minute drive to the emergency room at the risk of colliding with another car, rolling over in a ditch, or wrapping around a tree: absolutely fucking NOT. Look at how fast ambulances drive. They don't exceed the speed limit. Honestly, where do people get the idea that careening down city streets at 80mph is a smart way to transport people to the hospital?

  • Oh ya, (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bloggins (783115) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:15PM (#14180069) Homepage
    We have an election coming up, tell me who the bastards are that thought of this one and I'll vote for some other criminal.
  • by alienw (585907) <alienw,slashdot&gmail,com> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:17PM (#14180080)
    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 knarf (34928) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:18PM (#14180087) Homepage
    Don't you think that the system is built for just that 'need for speed'? If you 'punch the hell out of the gas pedal' you will not be hindered by the slight extra resistance the system puts in the path I'd say. For all those other times you suffer from a heavy right foot that extra resistance might just be enough for you to behave like the rule(r)s intended...
  • by Tim Browse (9263) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:20PM (#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 ;-)

  • Re:Full Monty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phanatic1a (413374) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:26PM (#14180138)
    Further supporting the notion that speed limits have everything to do with raising money for the state, and very little to do with road safety.

    To be a good driver, you need to know how your car reacts to your control inputs. You provide input X, it responds in manner Y.

    Introducing a device which changes Y to, say, Y-5, will impair the ability of people to control their vehicle, because it will change the vehicle's response to their inputs to one they are unfamiliar with.

    This is a really dumb idea.
  • by jesterpilot (906386) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:30PM (#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".
  • Re:Hang on... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bhawbaker (576764) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:53PM (#14180300)
    I see 2 things in that.

    1) If cars are piled up behind a slow car, I think that frontmost car (the slowest one) is required by law to pull over if there is certain # of cars behind it. So no passing needed if so

    2) If you need to speed up to pass - you shouldn't be going over the speed limit that much. If you do, you do not need to pass. Pass only if slowest car is going way below the speed limit.

    i'll add one more:

    3) Don't pass unless it is absolutely safe to do so.. It is not worth it to rush.. just take your time, enjoy the drive and save some lives.

  • Re:I Need This! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:55PM (#14180309)
    It sounds like you have an awareness problem, not a speeding problem. Lose the scanners and detectors; they obviously aren't getting the job done. Instead, re-route your attention to the road and drivers around you. You will spot the cops sooner, and you will be a safer driver.

    Think of it this way: yesterday, you missed spotting a hidden cop. Tomorrow, you might miss something even more expensive and painful.
  • by KylePflug (898555) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @04:59PM (#14180330) Homepage
    Yeah, I have to outrun volcanos and tsunamis ALL THE TIME in Washington. Thank god for my fast car. They never give you advance warning for those things, and even when they do, 70 isn't nearly enough to get out.
  • Re:Hang on... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by heypete (60671) <pete@heypete.com> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:02PM (#14180350) Homepage
    But various studies[1] like this one[2] have indicated that speed limits have little effect on the frequency or number of accidents. In fact, in some cases, raising the speed limit actually lessens the risk of accidents.

    Yes, speed is a contributing factor to the severity of the accident, but not to whether or not the accident actually occurs. Look at the Autobahn in Germany. Accidents are not nearly as common as they are on American freeways (I don't know anything about Canadian freeways and their accident rates), yet the speeds tend to be substantially higher.

    Personally, I think the speed limits are mostly for police to engage in revenue collection. Yes, keeping speeds around 55-60mph usually results in fuel savings for most vehicles, but people should be free to move at any safe rate of speed, within appropriate limits for that particular roadway (and most people naturally drive at a safe speed for the road, even if it is higher than the posted limit), and have that choice be their own. If I choose to drive at 55 to save fuel, you'll find me in the slow lane with the semi trucks. If I choose to drive 85 because I'm late for an appointment, I'll be in the fast lane with other similarly-rapid vehicles.

    I would posit that if one were to remove all speed limit signs, except for those around inherently dangerous sections of roadway (i.e. an upcoming sharp turn that requires a lower rate of speed), most people would drive slightly faster (maybe 70-80mph) than they do presently, but would still drive in a safe manner. I doubt that many would suddenly start going 140mph just because there's no signs.

    [1] http://www.ibiblio.org/rdu/p-sl.html [ibiblio.org]
    [2] http://www.ibiblio.org/rdu/sl-irrel.html [ibiblio.org]
  • by Penguinoflight (517245) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:02PM (#14180355) Homepage Journal
    When you are driving to work in the morning and you woke up 10 minutes too late safety is remaining calm and ignoring your mad boss.

    When your kid falls out of a tree and fractures his left arm safety is driving double the speed limit to ensure the livelyhood of your child.

    The problem isn't just in traffic, we are seeing a set of governments that deem all their citizens idiots who can't hurt themselves except with intention. Everything has to be taken away from the citizens at large so nobody gets hurt. The problem with this agenda is that there is no significant reason to trust those who enforce this set of rules.

    Psychologically limiting your population doesn't make sense so finding a situation where doing so would be stupid is not necessary. It's stupid to persue these measures in the first place.
  • by Shakrai (717556) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:15PM (#14180418) Journal

    I haven't RTFA, but I can only assume that there is some room to allow for the use of evasive high speed when necessary.

    You know, I shouldn't throw stones, because I speed all the time and not usually just a "little bit" -- 80-85 is common for me on the highway. That said, I've been driving for almost 15 years. I used to work for an insurance agency and attended more safe driving courses/schools then I can recall. I processed thousands of accident reports and claims. And not once in all of that did I see an accident that could have been prevented by "evasive high speed".

    Your at cruising speed. Let's say 70mph. All of a sudden something that happens that will require you to speed up or slow down 10mph to avoid it. What action do you think is faster? To gain that speed in time to matter will doubtless require a downshift. That's going to add at least a second on a shift stick. It might even take that long in an automatic -- since newer automatics lock the torque converter at cruising speed and would need to unlock it before downshifting. All the CVTs that I've driven in my day seem to be equally slow to change gear ratios to anything meaningful. Then how long will it take to actually gain that speed? Contrast that to your brakes. The brakes that I might add have the power to stop your your car even against the force of a runaway engine.

    The first thing you are taught in defensive driving is to study the situation around you and think about what could wrong. For each scenario of something that could go wrong you are supposed to have a way to get out of that problem without it becoming an accident. This could be as simple as thinking "What will I do if he doesn't stop at that stop sign?" with the answer "I'll stop" (duh!) -- but it works equally well on the West Side Highway at rush hour. In all of my driving experience I can not once think of a situation where my method of getting out of trouble would have involved speeding up.

    This doesn't mean that there aren't scenarios where you need to speed up to stay out of trouble -- some asshole tailgating you comes to mind (speed up to pass the guy on your right and get out of the dimwits way). I'm just saying that I've never seen a scenario where a split second decision to go faster would have prevented an accident. I've seen lots where a split second decision to brake would have.

  • Re:Hang on... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dreold (827386) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:22PM (#14180458)
    Regarding German autobahns: I think the full statistic was that while there are less accidents per passenger mile traveled, the percentage of fatal accidents happened to be higher.

    I'm German, but even I can't change the laws of physics: for a given increase in speed, the inertia increases geometrically, meaning you crash much harder when you go just a little faster.

    But living in California, I must say I am absolutely amazed at how many people manage to crash their cars and in the process kill themselves and others at relatively benign speeds (60-70 mph, 100-120 kph). No day without witnessing at least one serious acident on my from and to work.

  • by bhawbaker (576764) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:30PM (#14180504)
    > When you are driving to work in the morning and you woke up 10
    > minutes too late safety is remaining calm and ignoring your mad
    > boss.

    where do you live ? i want to make sure i do not live close to you! I don't care if you are late for work, you don't speed for that reason, that's stupid. "Sorry I disabled/injuried/killed your kid, but i was late for a meeting and my boss would have chewed me up."

    > When your kid falls out of a tree and fractures his left arm safety is
    > driving double the speed limit to ensure the livelyhood of your child.

    Fracture probably is not quite life threatening, but for a life threatening situation, then yes please do hurry to the nearest hospital. The speeding comment i made earlier was for driving behind a slower car, entirely different situation!

    Driving is a privilege shared among all of us, drive smart and safely.

    bob
  • by symbolic (11752) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:31PM (#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?
  • Re:Full Monty (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sancho (17056) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:39PM (#14180552) Homepage
    Get your facts straight.

    The bill mandating a 55mph speed limit had nothing to do with safety and everything to do with conserving fuel. There was this energy crisis around that time, you see.

    Oh, and Richard Nixon signed the bill. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Nixon [wikipedia.org]
  • by kimvette (919543) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:44PM (#14180576) Homepage Journal
    If it is implemented as a voluntary system, I see no problem with it. Parents should be able to do this to keep their nutty teenagers under control, or have control over how their cars are used when they lend their vehicles to other people.

    No way will I let anyone install such a system in my car but I'm very selective about who I let drive my cars.
  • Maybe. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Inoshiro (71693) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @05:55PM (#14180641) Homepage
    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 to have a heart attack and slam on the gas into me. At least I know that once the malfuction is corrected, it's not going to happen again!
  • by FuryG3 (113706) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @06:02PM (#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 @06:33PM (#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 @06:34PM (#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.
  • You do realize... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Animaether (411575) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @06:35PM (#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:Yay! Finally!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by photon317 (208409) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @06:42PM (#14180880)

    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 SagSaw (219314) <slashdot@[ ]ss.org ['mmo' in gap]> on Sunday December 04, 2005 @06:55PM (#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 Buran (150348) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @07:27PM (#14181119)
    Not when I'm doing the speed limit and then I have to slam on the brakes because I come upon some idiot in a Cadillac, who ignores all headlight flashes and horn honks, and I can't pass because everyone coming up behind me is passing, thus cutting me off from getting around and rendering me a hazard to traffic. And this is in vehicles with V-8 engines! So they do have enough power -- the driver is just too stupid to use it. Why don't the cops ever ticket these people for going too slowly? (40 on a highway IS illegal).
  • by Macdude (23507) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @07:44PM (#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.
  • Re:Hang on... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jeremyp (130771) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @07:52PM (#14181234) Homepage Journal
    60mph is far from benign. If you hit a solid object such as a tree head on going at that speed (you, not the tree), the accident has a good chance of being fatal. If you hit an oncoming truck also travelling at 60, death must be almost certain.
  • by r00t (33219) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @08:07PM (#14181304) Journal
    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 examiners grab the driver's door and pull really hard. It rips right off. In the USA, there'd be a lawsuit. In Germany, I guess it serves you right for trying to pass off a rustbucket junker as something suited to public roads.

    The German road test is indeed tough. It's kind of famous in fact. In the US, the test normally doesn't involve speeds over 35 mph (56 km/h). In the US, we don't test merging onto a restricted access road. In the US, we don't test night driving. In the US, we waste our time on bullshit like hand signals that nobody would believe if seen in real life.

    In the US, many cars are not very fit for public roads right as they leave the factory. Consider the Lincoln Navigator, the H2... We have dark tinted windows, unstable suspension, high center of gravity, etc.

  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @08:39PM (#14181454)
    As for aircraft, the ONLY reason that the Government can get with all present regulations is because there are only a miniscule number of airplanes when compared to how many cars are in daily operation in this country.

    The new Light Sport category might change that (offtopic). Anyways, trust me, the rules for aviation are there for the safety of you, your passengers, and others in the air or on the ground. There do happen to be a ton a regs in aviation, but I've never found one that I didn't agree with. Flying is a lot more complex then driving (operating in 3 dimensions, no roads, high speed w/ limited manueverability, and no way to "pull over and check something"). It makes sense to have a more complex set of rules to keep everything flowing smoothly.

    And as the original poster said, any pilot in command (PIC) is allowed to break ANY rule he deems necessary in an emergency situation (with no consequences if the situation is considered a valid emergency). You don't even have to report it or fill out paperwork unless specifically requested.
  • Re:Safety issues? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Reziac (43301) * on Sunday December 04, 2005 @08:55PM (#14181546) Homepage Journal
    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 acceleration could be disastrous.

    As to the accuracy of a GPS -- there are areas where the speed limit is reduced only "when children are present" (regardless of the time of day). How will the GPS know kids are present -- by the kids' implanted GPS/RFID tags??

    As to map accuracy -- sometimes the speed limit is different depending on which side of the street you're driving on. (I once asked the Calif. Highway Patrol about this weirdity, and was told it's because of zoning issues, where both sides of the street are not the same zone.) I've also seen places where the speed limit varied by which LANE you were in. Is this GPS thing so accurate that it can tell which lane you're drivig in??

    Next they'll want to install a gadget that slams on the brakes if it thinks you're about to run a red light. Hope the street's not icy, and there's no heavy vehicle tailgating you...

  • Re:Full Monty (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mesocyclone (80188) on Sunday December 04, 2005 @08:57PM (#14181555) Homepage Journal
    You are right about one thing - it was the idiot Nixon who signed it.

    I never claimed it had anything to do with safety. I showed it as an example of a speed limit that was NOT related to safety! Good grief.

    Oh, and as long as we are picking nits, I was wrong to say it was repealed in 1994. It was repealed, of course, by the Republican majority elected in 1994, who of course couldn't vote on anything until 1995 when they removed this onerous law. As a storm chaser, I was very pleased, as we need speed to get to the storms and being able to go 75 instead of 55 made a big difference.
  • How about when your father is having a heart attack and there is no local ambulance?
    Do you have an emergency vehicle license? If you don't, it means you're not trained to drive in an emergency situation. Then, you increase the danger to yourself and others while rushing someone to the hospital.
  • Re:Safety issues? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aaronl (43811) on Monday December 05, 2005 @01:56AM (#14183079) Homepage
    You're thinking at this the wrong way. Wearing a seatbelt shouldn't be mandatory because it is your choice. You would be somewhat stupid for *not* wearing one, but you only endanger yourself by choosing to not wear it. By making it illegal to not wear one, you restrict the freedom of someone to choose not to wear it. It is a crime only because it was decided to use government force to limit the freedom of the vehicle occupant, under the guise of safety. Most people would wear seatbelts because they are more likely to survive a collision if they do.

    As far as this system, I would remove such a device if I could. I do not want anything effecting the operation of my vehicle that does not have to. This is the same reason that I usually disable the traction control system in my car; it interferes with my ability to be in complete control of the vehicle.

    People just need to learn that you punish people for committing a crime. That means *after* they have committed a crime, and have been convicted. At least they aren't talking about requiring such a device, just certifying it.

    Government works better when they aren't playing moral police, social enforcer, and the general mommy and daddy of the populace. People need to be free to make their own decisions, even if those decisions will get them killed. A crime needs to start being simply an act that harms an unwilling person, be it their body or their property.
  • by Grym (725290) on Monday December 05, 2005 @03:11AM (#14183291)

    And not once in all of that did I see an accident that could have been prevented by "evasive high speed".

    If this is true, that's only because you're imagining dangerous situations infront of your car. How is braking going to help you when a speeding car is bearing down on you from behind? If anything it's only going to make the collision happen sooner. How is braking going to help you in the split second you realize someone is about to T-bone you from a side?

    The first thing you are taught in defensive driving...

    Let me just stop you right there. Defensive driving classes are a joke. All they do is tell you to pay attention, slow down, and to hit your brakes. No really. Save yourself 75 dollars and eight hours of your life, because that's about it.

    The above advice is ridiculous, because, in my experience, most emergency driving situations can be avoided entirely by disregarding the latter two parts. Sometimes it's safer to go faster. Imagine you're about to pass a truck. You could: (a) break the speedlimit and pass in about 30 seconds or (b) take about 2 minutes to overtake him going the speedlimit. Obviously it's A, because the longer you take to pass him the more time you're in his blindspot and with less routes of escape.

    Moreover a good deal of the time, the best thing is to do nothing. That's right--nothing. If you hit a patch of ice, unless you're really experienced, don't try and correct unless you absolutely have to. Just keep your calm and hold the wheel steady until you get through it. Same thing with hydroplaning. It's the overreaction--the slamming on the brakes or swerving--that makes you lose control. In the cases where action is required, however, I find that braking should be viewed as one of many appropriate responses.

    What action do you think is faster? To gain that speed in time to matter will doubtless require a downshift. That's going to add at least a second on a shift stick. It might even take that long in an automatic -- since newer automatics lock the torque converter at cruising speed and would need to unlock it before downshifting. All the CVTs that I've driven in my day seem to be equally slow to change gear ratios to anything meaningful. Then how long will it take to actually gain that speed? Contrast that to your brakes..

    I don't think you get it though. Collisions you can control usually involve relative velocities. Usually the ones you can't control (for the simple reason that they happen too fast) involve someone being at an complete stop. This difference is crutial. Example: Imagine getting hit by a car at 60 MPH. Now imagine the same collision while you yourself are going 59.9 MPH in the same direction.

    In this light, the engine needn't take the car from zero to sixty, to avoid an accident. A small, quick increase in speed can be all that's required to avoid a collision.

    -Grym

  • by Animaether (411575) on Monday December 05, 2005 @06:17AM (#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 :)

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