December 14, 2002
The nanny car

The Swedish National Road Administration is testing customized GPS receivers in about 1000 cars, according to this article in Technology Review. You can only see a brief excerpt right now, though the full article should be online eventually. I'll quote the bit I'm interested in:

The digital map databases built into the receivers included speed limit information for roads in several cities. In some of the cars, a black box on the dashboard flashed a light and emitted a warning noise whenever the driver exceeded the local limit. In others, the box displayed the speed limits in addition to the warning signal; and in a third group, the box was linked electronically to the gas pedal and imposed resistance whenever the driver was speeding.

The tests worked, in that most drivers responded by slowing down. What amaxed me was the report that two thirs of them liked the devices. Far fewer complained of "less joy in driving" and a "feeling of being controlled". Sweden hopes to make these systems mandatory by 2015. Will the US follow? I doubt it, but you never know.

There are other GPS-related innovations on the way, though none quite as annoying as this one. You libertarians and unreconstructed leadfoots out there might want to start practicing your letters of protest now.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 14, 2002 to Technology, science, and math | TrackBack

So in the unlikely event that a person is being stalked or chased, they're screwed?

Posted by: Laurence Simon on December 14, 2002 11:18 AM

The article didn't say that a car couldn't exceed the speed limit, just that something annoying like a noise or a resistant gas pedal would result. Of course, the next logical step is to prevent speeding altogether. So caveat emptor and all that.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on December 14, 2002 1:26 PM

I seriously, seriously doubt that any device that prevented people from speeding would ever be required. Libertarians would object, but not nearly as much as the townships taht make their money off people speeding.

Posted by: R. Alex on December 14, 2002 5:17 PM