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UK testing speed limiters in cars

By Anonymous 6522 in MLP
Sun Feb 04, 2001 at 08:15:27 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)

This article talks about how the UK goverment is testing a computer controlled speed limiting device that could become standard equipment within 5 years.

The article says that the device will be linked to a positioning satellite (GPS?) and will check the car's speed against a database of areas with speed restrictions. If the car is going faster than the speed limit, the computer will not allow the car the accelerate further.


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UK testing speed limiters in cars | 65 comments (43 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
The NEED for speed. (3.16 / 6) (#3)
by kwsNI on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 05:07:27 PM EST

I see one major problem with this. There are some times when you need to break the speed limit. For instance, you're on a two lane road and the guy in front of you out for a Sunday drive. When you try to pass him, do you do the speed limit with oncoming traffic or do you floor it?

I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. -Jack Handy
Not what the law says (4.00 / 5) (#5)
by interiot on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 05:16:11 PM EST

Well, in the US, most state law says that you're not allowed to go over the speed limit while passing. (I believe Montana and Washington are the only states that don't have this law)

That said, it's my opinion that if such devices were ever installed, such laws would be quickly repealed. It seems that they persist only because they're not well enforced, so there's not much impetuous to repeal the laws.

[ Parent ]

The law or my saftey? (4.00 / 2) (#25)
by kwsNI on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 07:42:30 PM EST

Do you really give a damn about the law when you're trying to pass someone and there's a car coming at you the other direction. Here's what I do. I get my ass back in my own lane as soon as I can.

I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. -Jack Handy
[ Parent ]
RE: The law or my safety? (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by Phaser777 on Tue Feb 06, 2001 at 10:00:43 AM EST

I believe the law says that if you can't pass while staying within the speed limit, you shouldn't even try to pass. The person you're passing should also slow down a bit to let you in in front of them. I honestly haven't been driving long enough to see if this is what really happens (I just got my driving permit), but that's how it's supposed to work.
My business plan:
Obtain the patents for something (the more obvious and general the better)
Wait until someone else adopts the idea and becomes rich off it.
Sue them.
[ Parent ]
UK laws? (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by Phaser777 on Tue Feb 06, 2001 at 10:07:02 AM EST

The laws I was referring to were Minnesota laws. I have no idea if the UK has similar laws about speeding and passing.
My business plan:
Obtain the patents for something (the more obvious and general the better)
Wait until someone else adopts the idea and becomes rich off it.
Sue them.
[ Parent ]
What a stupid idea. (4.25 / 4) (#15)
by Seumas on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 05:54:47 PM EST

I agree. I can't think of a more idiotic idea at the moment. There are a lot of examples for the need to break speed limits from time to time, not the least of which is when you are in desperate and immediate need of medical attention.

Anyone who doesn't get the willies at the idea of the government controlling the speed of your car by remote concerns me.
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]

Speeding for medical reasons (4.00 / 2) (#41)
by Lance on Sun Feb 04, 2001 at 05:40:49 AM EST

The argument against speeding for medical reasons, is that you should really call an ambulance. By speeding you are putting yourself, and others at greater risk. There may be occasions when calling an ambulance is not an option, but most of the time you probably could.

[ Parent ]
Big cities. (5.00 / 1) (#60)
by Seumas on Mon Feb 05, 2001 at 12:38:43 PM EST

Ambulance service in big cities is horrendous. Assuming you're in an area that is heavily covered by ambulance service, you're relying on one being able to arrive quickly and make it to the destination quickly. For example, in Portland -- the main ambulance service is being inspected closely by the city, because they consistantly fail to meet required service time averages, putting people at great risk.

Plus, if you think about it, what is faster? going from point A to point B? Or waiting for someone to come from point C to pick you up at point A and then drive you to point B?

Granted, in most cases, an ambulance is the best solution, but there are exceptions and those should be kept in mind instead of flat-out denying them. Still, that aside, the whole idea really does seem pretty creepy. What's next, automatic control of your house thermostat and the cooling setting of your freezer by government remote? Sheesh.
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]

need?? (3.00 / 6) (#30)
by darthaya on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 09:11:41 PM EST

I dont see why you NEED to, (absolutely necessary) to break the speed limit to pass the dude in front of you. Can't you just have a little patience and obey the law?

Or, if you are so enthusiasitc about speeding, why don't you try to change the speed limit law?

All I see the whining is non-sense. They just shows your disrespect of the law, the rule of society.

[ Parent ]

Need! (4.66 / 6) (#31)
by kwsNI on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 09:34:40 PM EST

I normally don't respond to flames, especially with a flame of my own, but what the hell...

Why do I need to speed? Let me give you an example. For me to get to work, I go down a 2-lane stretch of highway (about 10 miles long). The speed limit is 40mph. There is no passing the whole 10 miles because of it's full of ups and downs and you typically can't see oncoming traffic until it's less than 200 feet away.

This area is usually under construction so at least once a week, I get stuck behind a crane,forklift or other heavy construction vehicle doing between 10-15 miles an hour. Where I live, the LAW (since you're so concerned with the law) states that I can pass in a no passing zone if the vehicle I'm passing is doing under 1/2 the speed limit.

So passing here isn't illegal - however, it is dangerous (because you can't really see. When I pass these vehicles, I don't accelerate to 40 and stay there while I don't know what's coming over the next hill. I wait until I'm at the top of a hill and make sure no one's coming my way and I floor it. I get around what's in front of me as fast as possible. The less time I'm in the other lane, the less chance there's another vehicle coming at me.

So you think I'm an asshole for not being "patient" and following the guy in front of me and taking an hour to get to work on what should be a 15 minute drive following the posted laws. Get a clue.

I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. -Jack Handy
[ Parent ]

Problem (2.80 / 5) (#36)
by darthaya on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 11:36:10 PM EST

Let me offer you some solution without breaking the law. How about going a little early every day to work?

The problem is not that you need to speed, but the need to change the existing traffic law in your area, if you see it absolutely necessary to go pass the dude in front of you when you are in a hurry to go to work because you wake up half an hour late.

LAW is supposed to be obeyed no matter where and when under whatever circumstances. is not supposed to break just because you think it is more convenient, better without it at the moment.

[ Parent ]

Good one. (4.33 / 3) (#38)
by kwsNI on Sun Feb 04, 2001 at 12:27:12 AM EST

A) I'm not going to leave an extra 45 minutes early every day because sometimes there's someone doing 10 mph on the road.

B) I couldn't do that if I wanted to. I get out of school, shower and go directly to work. Once again, you assumed: I guess because I'm more concerned with my safety over the law, I'm not only a menace to society but I'm also lazy and have to rush because I sleep in.

I think we all know what happens when you make an Assumption. You make an Ass out of U and mption.

I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. -Jack Handy
[ Parent ]

So then what your saying is... (5.00 / 2) (#46)
by munkyv2 on Sun Feb 04, 2001 at 01:03:54 PM EST

It's the masses responsability to make exceptions for the few. I personally feel that the individual going 10 Mph needs to keep out of the way of the traffic that is using the road properly. That's like saying that I need to go to bed a few hours earlier JUST INCASE my neighbors start having a party and wake me up. That's dumb.

[ Parent ]
it's not against the law (3.00 / 2) (#45)
by mikpos on Sun Feb 04, 2001 at 11:11:22 AM EST

Speeding to pass a slow-moving vehicle (when it's safe) is not against the law; rather, it's recommended practice.

Seeing as police forces (and cities for that matter) are so gravely underfunded, I don't see why they don't just plump up their cash cow, rather than obliterating it. Instead of eliminating speeding completely, make it a $50000 fine.

[ Parent ]

Jemez, NM (5.00 / 1) (#47)
by fluffy grue on Sun Feb 04, 2001 at 01:25:15 PM EST

Here in New Mexico is a small town by the name of Jemez. (That's pronounced "hey-mehz" for you gringoes. ;) The town was incredibly deep in debt, and it showed... none of the roads were paved, stuff like that.

So once upon a time, the town of Jemez decided to lower the speed limit to 25 through all of town and to raise the minimum fine to $300.

Jemez is no longer in debt. The roads are still unpaved, though, even though they make something like $1 million per year in speeding fines...
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

huh? (5.00 / 1) (#52)
by interiot on Sun Feb 04, 2001 at 09:19:18 PM EST

look 75% down this page. Most don't allow it.

[ Parent ]
huh again? (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by mikpos on Mon Feb 05, 2001 at 12:05:44 AM EST

"Most" what? The story is about the United Kingdom.

[ Parent ]
Oops (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by interiot on Mon Feb 05, 2001 at 10:35:41 AM EST

*grin* US-centricity strikes again. Sincere apologies, I thought I wasn't vulnerable to such mistakes.

[ Parent ]
You must drive a clunker..... (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by Rasvar on Mon Feb 05, 2001 at 11:07:00 AM EST

If you have a nice car and you get caught behind a rock spewing dump truck that is going righ under the speed limit on a two lane road with oncoming traffic, there are many times when the only way to pass is to speed for a moment. If everything was equal, i'd say they should be fined for every rock they toss out; but since that isn't going to happen, I have to protect my property. Just fall back you say? Still doesn't work. This litte rocks just get picked up by someone who does pass you or pulls out in front of you. Only solution is to pass at a speed above the speed limit.

[ Parent ]
I wonder... (3.66 / 6) (#10)
by Anonymous 6522 on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 05:31:27 PM EST

If they've tested this device with aluminum wrapped around the satellite receiver? When I do this to the antenna on my Garmin eMap it blocks the GPS signals completely.

I should probably expand on that... (3.25 / 4) (#19)
by Anonymous 6522 on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 06:09:19 PM EST

What point would there be to having something like this if any bozo can just wrap aluminum foil around the antenna and render it inoperable. Doing this would more or less simulate the very bad GPS reception in large cities and the compleat lack if it in tunnels and parking garages.

A system like this may work perfecally in the controlled environment of the inventors, but compleatly fail when given to a public that gobbles up radar detectors and everything else that is used to foil police speed enforcement.

[ Parent ]

Knowing governments use of tech (3.00 / 3) (#21)
by Seumas on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 06:58:14 PM EST

Knowing how most governments handle technology, and the unstable level of things such as GPS right now, I wouldn't be surprised if people found their cars slowing to dangerous speeds on the freeway or suddenly stopping in the middle of an intersection. Hope the government doesn't mind a lot of lawsuites.
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]
Tunnels? (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by Phaser777 on Tue Feb 06, 2001 at 09:53:33 AM EST

Doing this would more or less simulate the very bad GPS reception in large cities and the compleat lack if it in tunnels and parking garages.

That brings up a good point: how's this going to work in tunnels and other places where you can't get GPS reception? I think a tunnel would be one of the worst places to speed, since an accident could completely block the tunnel, and emergency workers might have some trouble getting to the accident. Maybe they would setup a few antennas in tunnels that would broadcast some sort of signal to set the speed, overriding the GPS (or lack of it).

I'm not sure if anyone's discussed this yet.
My business plan:
Obtain the patents for something (the more obvious and general the better)
Wait until someone else adopts the idea and becomes rich off it.
Sue them.
[ Parent ]
Dead reckoning, and practical consequences (4.50 / 2) (#28)
by kcarnold on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 08:58:37 PM EST

It has a decent last-known position (from some time the GPS was uncovered), and can easily get the speed and angle of the car (steering wheel position) to a good degree of accuracy; it can get position over time from velocity over time through simple calculus, and thus get a rough but sufficiently accurate (in most cases) fix on location. If the GPS receiver is easily viewable outside the car, a police officer will surely notice aluminum foil over it soon enough, and if no police officers are nearby, there's usually also no one else around to care if you're going 60 mph instead of 35 mph anyway. And remember the police aren't getting rid of their radar guns (and if everyone else is going the same speed, one person going faster should be easily noticible).

[ Parent ]
Paint the foil then... (3.66 / 3) (#33)
by Anonymous 6522 on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 10:37:59 PM EST

If the reciever is easily visible from outside, then you could just paint the foil the same color as the receiver, or you could buy a fake antenna and hide the real one. How about just cutting the wire that leads to it? There will be a million ways to get around this, and people are going to try them all. This system will just be a $300 brick that I (if I lived in the UK) will have to pay for.

I think this device is ment to keep you from speeding when the cops aren't around to catch you. All you have to do is watch out for cops and slow down when you see one. If these get common, I would imagine that the police would scale back their traffic enforcement divisions, which would make it that much easier to avoid cops.

[ Parent ]

Defeating the system (4.50 / 4) (#35)
by kcarnold on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 11:11:00 PM EST

There will always be a way to defeat any system. (Ken's Rule? nah, somebody had to have said that before.) The goal of the regulators is to get it to be hard enough to defeat the system that it's easier just to live with it than bother hacking it. I would think that the system would be integrated well enough into the car such that something simple like cutting the cable wouldn't cut it (perhaps the code would be built into the car's central computer, causing the car not to be able to start unless it received a successful response to a challenge sent to the GPS receiver (not successful signal reception, but just existence). If you really wanted to you could crack the encryption, build a replacement circuit to respond to the challenge, and hotwire the replacement in, but that would be lots of work. And the whole system could have a simple radar-bounce or similar mechanism to check whether the receiver is unobstructed and successfully receiving a GPS fix, by an automated scanner at a location where a successful GPS fix is almost guaranteed. Now I can easily think of a way to defeat even that, but it's starting to take a lot more effort than it would take just to follow the law and drive at the speed limit. It's not like an invasion of privacy or monopolistic tactics; the speed limit is in the interests of safety. If you drive too fast, you could kill yourself and/or another person a lot more easily. In the perfect society, the government would not even have to enforce this, but live with the fact that humans are only human.

[ Parent ]
reply (3.66 / 3) (#37)
by Anonymous 6522 on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 11:53:57 PM EST

That's a good point, but someone will figure out how to crack it successfully, and that crack may become commercial. In some states in the US having a radar detector is illegal. The cops there use some a kind of scanner called VG2. Most radar detectors now can detect this scanner and counteract it's effects. I would predict that something similar to this scenario. People figure a way around this, the cops figure a way around that, and people find a way around the way around that, ad nauseam.

[ Parent ]
Ad nauseam (4.50 / 4) (#40)
by kcarnold on Sun Feb 04, 2001 at 01:17:05 AM EST

Yes, all systems are defeated if anyone cares (I said that, didn't I?). But (a) make the cracks illegal especially if commercial, and (b) it's a different sort of technology. Radar detectors give you advance warning of a police officer. Speed limiters avoid the need for the radar detector by forcing you to go at sane speeds. It's easy to detect radar. You know the speed limiter is there, but it can be quite difficult to defeat it. See the difference? But yes, undoubtably somebody will crack it anyway. As I said before, unfortunately humans, both government and ordinary citizen, are only human.

[ Parent ]
Old frickin' idea (3.42 / 7) (#12)
by ODiV on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 05:34:31 PM EST

Man. I thought of this when I was 12! Except my idea used little stations on the road which broadcast a signal to the cars. I suppose this way is better.

Still... Sometimes you need to speed. Like when you've just knocked over a bank and you need to get out of there right away. Seriously though, what if you need to floor it to get out of someone's way to avoid an accident? I'm sure this has happened.

Then again, it probably hasn't happened as often as deaths related to speeding. The seatbelt has killed people (don't ask me to back this up, I just heard it somewhere), but it's saved a lot more.

[ odiv.net ]
Death by seatbelt (5.00 / 2) (#29)
by finkployd on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 09:05:24 PM EST

It has killed, but usually by trapping someone or tangling them up and preventing them from getting out before the car explodes/fills with water. Not common though. Actually, the airbag has been responsible for more injuries and deaths than the seatbelt.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
The question is : More or fewer deaths by seatbelt (5.00 / 2) (#56)
by NKJensen on Mon Feb 05, 2001 at 04:50:19 AM EST

We all have to die and going by car in the traffic gets quite a lot of us way too early.

The "trapped by seat belt" stories are mostly fiction. If your car is so damaged, that your seatbelt will become blocked, you would have been knocked unconscious without a seatbelt.

The most common horror story about driving into a harbor or river is an example of this. Hitting the water at normal driving speed without a seatbelt will knock anyone out.
From Denmark. I like it, I live there. France is another great place.
[ Parent ]

Mostly fiction, but not all ... (4.00 / 2) (#57)
by yojimbo-san on Mon Feb 05, 2001 at 07:19:55 AM EST

The "trapped by seat belt" stories are mostly fiction. If your car is so damaged, that your seatbelt will become blocked, you would have been knocked unconscious without a seatbelt.

Easy to say, however reality is more complex. I know one person who died in an accident because his seatbelt trapped him while the vehicle was upside-down in water. The only rescuers at the scene were unable to free him because they didn't have the right tools (e.g. a big knife) to cut the belt.

There is no perfect technology, though, and an acceptable risk level has to be set at some point.

Quick wafting zephyrs vex bold Jim
[ Parent ]
What I'd like to see (3.50 / 4) (#23)
by RangerBob on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 07:03:10 PM EST

I'd like to see some type of automatic braking system. Both times I've been hit (which, concidentally enough, have been by teenage women, both in a November, and both at the end of the month), an automatic braking system would have stopped it. Neither was looking at the road. Some sort of proximity system could have hit the brakes automatically before the cars hit me.

Of course, where I live, a lot of people seem to have problems with stop signs so I wouldn't mind some sort of enforced stopping either ;)

Ill-consequences (3.75 / 4) (#26)
by Andrew Dvorak on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 07:52:31 PM EST

I'd like to suggest an automatic braking system to be just as dangerous as an automatic speed limiter system. think about it: they can't really require all motorists to install speed limiters or automatic braking systems, so .. it would be dangerous to have a hybrid system in which there are cars with and without such systems. It would be an all-or-none requirement.

If I have a new car with a speed limiter, I cannot possibly escape danger should I be followed by somebody without such willing to cause me harm. Likewise, if somebody misses the brake and the automatic braking system stops the automobile, those without the auto-braking system behind them could possibly be out of luck, even in a low-speed and close-distanced.

The benefits to any one person are far outweighed by the risks it poses to the public, at large.

I would find it safer to allow the user to manage the system, rather than some system which uses a limited ruleset to determine how it should respond.

[ Parent ]
FYI Slashdot discussed this about a year ago (3.00 / 6) (#32)
by rajivvarma on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 10:03:57 PM EST


This link leads to a Slashdot article posted about a year ago on this topic, if anyone wants to peruse through it.
Rajiv Varma
Mirror of DeCSS.

Whats the problem? (3.75 / 8) (#34)
by jreilly on Sat Feb 03, 2001 at 10:46:48 PM EST

Item 1:There is no constitutional(insert UK equivalent here, sorry, but i'm an ignorant USian) right to drive at any speed you want.

Item 2:There are laws that restrict the speed at which you may drive.

Item 3:There are valid public safety reasons to restrict vehicular speed.

Item 4:This system only recieves data, so invades privacy in no way.

Am I missing something? I really don't see how this is anything but a rather nice application of GPS technology

Oooh, shiny...

No big deal at all (4.40 / 10) (#39)
by ncohen on Sun Feb 04, 2001 at 12:45:31 AM EST

So long as it has an off switch for emergenices. The off switch should also attract the attention of the police. If it's a real emergency (runaway truck, wife having baby, etc.) You'll want the police to come, either to survey the situation or to help you get by quicker. If, on the other hand, you intend to speed, well, you're in trouble.
"(A+Bn)/n = x, hence God exists, reply!"
Where have I seen this before? (4.00 / 11) (#42)
by Mawbid on Sun Feb 04, 2001 at 09:52:31 AM EST

Oh yes, Slashdot, yesterday, (and Slashdot, some months ago). Well, if K5 is to be a Slashdot mirror, I might as well mirror my comment on the story (pay special attention to the "old farts" part, it's what keeps the post from being redundant):

We had this discussion already. I understand that not all Slashdot readers were around then and that this is all very interesting to the new ones. I just wish there were an old farts section I could join where I wouldn't see these stories.

Anyway, a couple of points were raised before, which I didn't see as I scanned this discussion:

1. Some countries allow emergency speeding. I think the U.K. is one of them. These devices would deny you your legal right to get your wife to the hospital in time. Your wife dies, a lawsuit follow, and politicians' heads roll.

2. A much better method would be to warn the driver, then report, not hinder, speeding. This takes care of point 1. It's also possible to hinder speeding, but allow the driver to hit an emergency override key and answer to the police later.

3. Speeding is illegal, yet most of do it and feel that it's ok to speed a little. A kid who just got his drivers license has to break the law or look like a loser to his friends. We all get to be criminals, and the police gets to arbitrarily select who to punish. Speed limits are often way too low, because it's taken for granted that people will routinely exceed them by 20-30km/h. We end up feeling hating the police and losing respect for the law. This is the problem with laws that aren't enforced. Laws should be enforced or not enacted at all.

4. Once the technology is there, it will be possible to cheaply alter speed limits in a given area. When the road is dry, visibility is good, and traffic is light, speed limits can be increased. There is potential here to make drivers happier as well as safer, although I won't argue with those who are skeptical it would actually happen.

No, this will never be used in the USA (4.85 / 7) (#43)
by AzTex on Sun Feb 04, 2001 at 09:58:51 AM EST

Such a device tying into the GPS is needlessly complicated.  Most governments have a lot of laws regulating cars they just have to add one more.  If the government really wanted to stop speeding, they could just say "All cars have to be equiped with a governer to limit the car's speed to 55-65-70MPH (or whatever)".

It would be cheap and easy to impliment.  Whether you know it or not, your car may already have such a device but if so it is set to something like 130MPH because that's all the tires are rated for.

But neither of the GPS device nor the governor device will be implimented in the USA because too many local communities like the revenues they get from writing speeding tickets.  If it weren't possible for people to speed,...

As an aside, when I pay a speeding ticket, I catagorize it in my check register as "Velocity Tax".

solipsism: I'm always here. But you sometimes go away.
** AzTex **

Linear Velocity Governer (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by Bios_Hakr on Mon Feb 05, 2001 at 01:02:02 PM EST

What you fail to take into account is that a static governer doesn't care about the speed limit. If my car is governed @ 75mph, then I can drive it that fast through a 25mph residental, slow kids @ play zone.

[ Parent ]
Possible problems (4.50 / 8) (#48)
by onyxruby on Sun Feb 04, 2001 at 02:04:26 PM EST

If your going to implement this you have to resolve some practical implementation issues. Sorry, long debunking coming, but many points to cover.

First You have to get the data to the vehicle that tells it what speed it supposed to follow.

There exists several possible options on how to do this. You could try and send the data to the cars by satellite and a central speed-by-road database. Problem with this is that there is only so much bandwidth available. A well written explanation of this was posted to slashdot.

You could also send out the data by using radio signals. Like all radio signals, they are susceptible to weather, environmental concerns, jamming (intentional to be expected) and getting their signal to only the intended audience.

You could try and download the data ahead of time to the cars computer. This is far too much to download through wireless transmission mediums, you would have to do it by removable disk. Assuming in 5 years or so that we probably would have a version of the CD that will hold that much data, you still have problems with integrity as people modify the disks they insert.

Conflicting signals. Lets say your on a freeway with a service road right next to it. All of a sudden your car starts to break from 60 MPH to 25 MPH. Who is responsible when the inevitable accidents happen? The most likely thing to do is use radio signals transmitted from speed limit signs. Radio signals can be directional to only a limited extent. It would be to easy to pick up the wrong signal under the wrong circumstances. As a hardware hack, you could also make something to generate a signal with your own desired limit.

GPS accuracy. Non military GPS is not accurate to pinpoint what road your on if your close to another road (freeway next to a service road for example). While this could be easily resolved, the military would never allow for GPS to get this accurate for the masses.

Second Liability issues, who is going to be responsible for inevitable fatalities that this will cause.

This would be an issue in bad winter weather. I live in Minnesota, the practical reality is that the roads take a much higher level of skill, and different driving methods for winter than they in summer. We commonly get the following road conditions in the winter; ice, black ice (frozen car exhaust), sleet, snow, and or any combination of the above. A system like this would have to slow speed by breaking, simply cutting off fuel would not slow down a car quickly enough in circumstances like getting off the freeway. This would be very bad to do in the wrong weather. One of the most common ways for someone who is not experienced in such weather to get into an accident is to hit the brakes. Having your car do this when your not excepting it could easily be fatal in winter weather conditions.

System gets cracked. This thing gets put into implemtation and MS drops down to the #2 target for hackers overnight. Hacktivism would gain popular support by the masses. Someone would hack it and drop the speed to 5 MPH during rush hour. Inevitibly this would probably cause a fatality or six. Or someone could set your speed to 0, and nobody goes anywhere until it gets fixed.

Driver complacency. This system creates one more opportunity to take responsibility away from the individual. Drivers who grew up needing to be responsible for their own speed would be better off, but would inevitably become complacent about that, and other issues. Those drivers that learn under such a system would have skills issues when the system fails.

Manufacture responsibility. Who is responsible for when bad things happen. The people that make the hardware that interfaces with the GPS, the GPS manufactures, the cities, the map companies. It would be a bloody nightmare that would make many lawyers very rich.

Third Civil rights. With such a system, it is quite conceivable that they would make the GPS tracking system two way capable.

Excuse. "We can instantly end bandits running from the police by shutting off their gas supply and bringing them under a controlled stop". Sounds wonderful for public safety and I can garauntee that it would get publicized. This capability could easily be exploited by criminals as well as police. Road side robbery would become more popular

Tracking. Britian passed RIP, and is already is in love with CCTV in public, they use this with face tracking software to track "bad people" walking around in public. Why not track "bad people" when they are driving? Who gets to define the bad people? Do you really trust your police not to exploit such a system?

Tracking part II. Many states driving departments, including my own, have for years sold to marketers your address and other such information. Marketers routinely invade your privacy on the web, and who you call gets sold by your phone company. Why should such a system be any different?

Law enforcement abuse. Here in the US, law enforcement has repeatedly shown it's ability to abuse any technological advantage it can get. For example, a wiretap allows the recording of your phone conversations. However, it can still pick up conversations in your house, when your phone isn't in use, through the phones microphones. These conversations can't be used as evidence, but they are used.

Automated tickets. They already do this with speeding tickets, and could easily extend this to such a system. Even in areas without speed control they could still speed monitor. Your tickets for every time you speed in day, would arrive by mail. Your insurance company would probably find out about them before you and would raise or cancel your rates accordingly. With software to track such things, you could easily accrue enough speeding tickets in a short drive to raise your rates, cancel your insurance, and then have your vehicle's speed set to "0" until a tow truck arrives as it is now uninsured.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.

GPS accuracy (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by FlightTest on Mon Feb 05, 2001 at 12:04:57 AM EST

GPS accuracy. Non military GPS is not accurate to pinpoint what road your on if your close to another road (freeway next to a service road for example). While this could be easily resolved, the military would never allow for GPS to get this accurate for the masses.

Actually, Clinton removed the Selective Availability (SA) degradation from the civilian GPS signal on May 2, 2000. The civilian signal is now the same as military. This was done mainly for aviation purposes, the FAA is trying to move towards GPS being the primary navigation for aircraft.

But even the GPS with SA off isn't accurate enough to pinpoint you on a road. That's what Differential GPS (DGPS) is for. Fortunately, a single DGPS beacon can cover quite a wide area. It basically works by knowing it's own position VERY accurately, then comparing it's known location to the GPS signal, and broadcasting the difference. This yields a position fix acurate enough to land a jumbo jet with. And the DGPS beacons already exist along the coasts and on the Mississippi river, as boats are using them in place of Loran.

Why did I flip? I got tired of coming up with last minute desparate solutions to impossible problems created by other fucking people.
[ Parent ]
Dead on arrival (5.00 / 1) (#65)
by twl on Tue Feb 06, 2001 at 12:08:00 PM EST

This would have once been viable in the UK. However, now that local police have started to receive speeding ticket revenues, they'll find it essential to retain that revenue.

For a long time ticket revenue has been the driving force behind speeding policy in the USA -- spot the correlation between enforcement and area wealth as you drive across the country. Once this becomes entrenched in the UK you'll see similar resistance to change.

Anyway, since when have speeding laws had anything to do with safety? If safety was a real concern, driving standards would be addressed. I was shocked by how easy the driving test was in the USA (I took my test in CT) after having taken a test in the UK some years before -- no wonder the populace aren't trusted to travel faster than 55/65/75 on a freeway.

UK testing speed limiters in cars | 65 comments (43 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
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