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Print 97 comment(s) - last by Adonlude.. on May 14 at 2:19 PM

Computers could prevent UK drivers from speeding by deactivating throttle

One of the many staples of science fiction is cars that can drive themselves. The idea is interesting to some motorists who could use the system to drive for them if they were too tired or if the driver wanted to read while driving without risking their life and those around them.

The first step to such a system is being tested in the UK with a new in-car computer that would prevent vehicles from speeding. The system would detect the speed of the vehicle, compare the speed to a digital map with all road speeds, and slow the vehicle down accordingly. The system is called Intelligent Speed Adaptation and the pilot program is being unveiled in the UK today.

The program is being viewed as a scheme to save lives across the UK and would ultimately add £500 to the cost of a vehicle if implemented. Opponents to the system say that it would undermine the driver's freedom and could hinder road safety.

The trial of the program is being conducted by the Transport for London (TfL), the body responsible for running the buses and trains in the capital city. A fleet of vehicles equipped with the technology is expected to take to London roadways this summer and will include a bus, cabs, and cars. The trial is scheduled to last for six months as the technology is evaluated for its impact on road safety and congestion.

The computer brain of the system will be programmed with all of the roads that compromise the M25 for the trial. Vehicles equipped with the system will have two driving modes -- voluntary and advisory. The advisory mode would put a face on an LCD screen that either frowns or smiles depending on if the vehicle is adhering to speed limits.

The voluntary mode would go a step further and when the vehicle exceeds posted speed limits, the gas pedal would be deactivated until the car slows. Officials behind the pilot program hope that the voluntary mode will become a requirement.

The voluntary system doesn't control vehicle braking; it simply disengages the accelerator so the car coasts to the posted speed limit. One big potential issue with the system could be the inability to merge onto the highway using a vehicle with the voluntary system that could be unable to hit merging speeds.

Chris Lines, head of the TfL road safety unit said, "This innovative technology could help any driver avoid the unnecessary penalties of creeping over the speed limit and at the same time will save lives."

AA's Andrew Howard says, "Drivers are divided in their views of ISA; some hate it, some want it. Many have questions that will be answered only by trials like those being carried out by TfL."

Paul Biggs from the Association of British Drivers fears that the system will stop drivers from thinking. Drivers have similar problems with GPS devices and have at times literally nearly fallen off a cliff blindly following computer guidance.

The findings of the trial will be reported next year.



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Keep it
By FITCamaro on 5/11/2009 9:42:48 AM , Rating: 5
The UK can have that crap. If they ever try it here in America, I'd never buy a new car again.

The only speeding the UK needs to stop is their ever faster plunge into total government control. Of course the US is slowly closing pace with that.




RE: Keep it
By vtohthree on 5/11/2009 9:54:43 AM , Rating: 2
You'd eventually have to buy a new car some time down the road. If it gets accepted in one prominent country, the others will eventually follow.

I hate to say it, but one day it may come to the U.S. as well, I rather it not.


RE: Keep it
By FaceMaster on 5/11/2009 10:04:06 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
down the road


hoho.

I have a feeling that James Bond movies are going to become far more dull after this has taken effect.


RE: Keep it
By GaryJohnson on 5/11/2009 10:26:50 AM , Rating: 4
I think if MI6 can make a car invisible then they can also figure out how to disable the anti-speeding computer.


RE: Keep it
By Sazar on 5/12/2009 2:13:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I have a feeling that James Bond movies are going to become far more dull after this has taken effect.


I am imaging car-chases like the one in Ali G's "In Da House"

Car chase at 30 KPH. Oodles of amusement follows.

My primary concern is, is there the ability to accelerate in emergencies (i.e. someone tries to merge and doesn't look over) to avoid accidents or is there a hard cap on the top speed?


RE: Keep it
By Adonlude on 5/14/2009 2:19:30 PM , Rating: 2
Great, now we will have to jailbreak our cars too.


RE: Keep it
By MrBlastman on 5/11/2009 10:14:17 AM , Rating: 5
"We are here to protect you, we are here to protect."

I would loathe such a concept here in the USA, however, with the current political progression and the rule of political inevitability, I say it is a matter of time. At any point a society chooses to have a form of democratic rule (yes, I know we are _currently_ a republic), there is a dramatic tendency towards that society eventually slipping into socialism. It is only a matter of time, but, it WILL happen at some point; this is unavoidable.

I fear that with the route our new administration is taking, plus the blind faith in his views/initiatives, that the door has been opened to more widespread socialistic acceptance. Devices such as these are designed by mother government to "protect" (enslave) the people, so naturally should we continue to creep down that dark passage, it will eventually become a reality here as well.

The land of one billion cameras has shown us this potential fact. It might not be a requirement yet there, but I bet it could be soon. After all, Government knows best my dear, right? ;)


RE: Keep it
By GaryJohnson on 5/11/2009 10:33:23 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Devices such as these are designed by mother government to "protect" (enslave) the people

By that token then so too is our current methods of speed limit enforcement, right?


RE: Keep it
By foolsgambit11 on 5/11/2009 11:48:16 AM , Rating: 3
And demanding people actually be licensed to operate a motor vehicle. I mean, come on! I can't drive without telling the government who I am and where I live? And I have to pay for insurance? And I have to wear a seatbelt?!?

</sarcasm>

In all seriousness, though, if this were to come to the US, I imagine it would come because insurance providers would provide lower rates for people with cars that have the device. It would slowly phase in until pretty much all new cars have it, just like ABS.


RE: Keep it
By Yawgm0th on 5/11/2009 12:08:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In all seriousness, though, if this were to come to the US, I imagine it would come because insurance providers would provide lower rates for people with cars that have the device. It would slowly phase in until pretty much all new cars have it, just like ABS.
Progressive has a device you attach to your care that monitors your driving habits. It hooks up to USB on a PC to send data back to Progressive and supposedly they will adjust your insurance rate based on your driving.


RE: Keep it
By AlexWade on 5/11/2009 12:13:41 PM , Rating: 2
The common myth is that speeding causes more wrecks; it does not. Speeding increases the chances of you dying if you were ever in a wreck, but it does not make the roads less safe. Driving slow makes the roads less safe. But will the computer nanny make people drive safe by driving at least the speed limit? No, because that won't make money.

I'm not arguing that speed limits are necessary. What I am saying is that the computer speed nanny is not about safety, it is about money. Just like the red light cameras run by for-profit companies. These for-profit companies are proven to shorten yellow light timing to increase tickets even though this caused more wrecks. This is about money.


RE: Keep it
By tmouse on 5/11/2009 1:13:49 PM , Rating: 3
I would like a link to any information that supports the Idea that excessive speed does not increase the probability of getting into an accident please. Getting into an accident and death are not mutually exclusive. I will agree that excessively driving slow can increase the chance of an accident but how can you in all seriousness not think that decreasing the amount of time one has to react would not increase the chance of an accident?


RE: Keep it
By AlexWade on 5/11/2009 7:45:22 PM , Rating: 1
Consider the Autobahn. It has a speed limit for cars at 145 km/hr, or about 90 MPH. Yet it is one of the safest highways in Europe. Higher speed means a greater chance of fatalities because of momentum. But the Autobahn has far fewer fatalities than most highways. Since it has fewer fatalities, it must also have fewer wrecks. The proof is not in a study but in real life.


RE: Keep it
By ArcliteHawaii on 5/11/2009 9:39:36 PM , Rating: 3
Higher speed reduces reaction times on a given stretch of road. Lower reaction time increases the chance of an accident. That's just biology and physics, you know, SCIENCE.

The autobahn is much wider, better built, and better engineered than most American highways, and that helps prevent accidents. However, there are so many differences between the way the two highway systems (car quality, driver training, the number of trucks using the road, road engineering, traffic laws, signage, driver attitude, etc.) that they are not directly comparable. A better way would be to look at a the same highway system with higher and lower posted speed limits and do statistical analysis to isolate speed as a causal factor. Fortunately, we have such studies.

This study done in CT shows an increase in total accidents of 5% per vehicle and 5% per vehicle mile after the increase from 55 to 65 MPH.

http://www.cga.ct.gov/2004/rpt/2004-r-0035.htm

And it would have been even higher if it included sections where 40 and 45 MPH had increased to 50:
quote:
The data for the segment of I-84 in West Hartford and Hartford for which the speed limit was increased from 40 and 45 mph to 50 mph at the same time as the other roads were increased to 65 mph was not included in the above table. This segment showed the greatest increases in accidents and accident rates after the speed limit changed of any of the 19 segments for which limits were raised. Had it been included in the overall averages, it would have raised the post-change averages for accidents from 20. 7% to 24. 6%, for accidents per 1 million vehicle miles traveled from 5. 3% to 8. 59% , and for accidents per 1 million vehicles from 5. 4% to 9. 0% .


And from this study:

http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst;jsessioni...

quote:
Several studies have investigated the impact of this speed limit change on actual traffic speed and traffic safety, using different time periods, data, and statistical methods. Although not every study reaches the same conclusion, the combined evidence favors a finding that the speed limit change compromised safety.


So, you can get the true answer of whether speed increases the number of accidents by doing a study of real life.


RE: Keep it
By 91TTZ on 5/12/2009 3:07:34 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The autobahn is much wider, better built, and better engineered than most American highways, and that helps prevent accidents. However, there are so many differences between the way the two highway systems (car quality, driver training, the number of trucks using the road, road engineering, traffic laws, signage, driver attitude, etc.) that they are not directly comparable.


Actually this is false. When I was there I drove around and the highway was fairly small, with 2 lanes in each direction. The cars weren't any more capable than the ones we have here. I was driving an Opel Corsa with a tiny 1.2 liter engine. It wasn't this mystical, overengineered superhighway often claimed by those who have never driven on it.


RE: Keep it
By Pryde on 5/12/2009 1:31:45 AM , Rating: 2
Increasing speed can increase the amount accidents. ( Read increase not cause )

Pick a road that has many intersections crossing it and a speed limit of 45MPH. Someone pulls out from an intersection onto this road and a car already traveling on this at 45MPH has to slam on their breaks to avoid this person and just misses them.

Now say this road is increased by 15MPH to 60MPH. Instead of the car just missing them there is now a accident. Increasing the speed increased the amount of accidents on the road but did not cause the accident.

What many of these road reports fail to mention is that in how many of these accidents was speed a factor but instead they just had road A had ??% increase.

Far more accidents are cause by poor driving than speed. Speed can turn a near miss into a accident or a accident into a fatality but very rarely is the cause of a accident.


RE: Keep it
By tmouse on 5/12/2009 7:18:50 AM , Rating: 2
You are really splitting hairs here, I'll agree that poor driving causes accidents the problem is speeding (and here is where we may have a difference of opinion in definition) IS an element of "poor driving". If you increase something by your direct action you are by definition contributing to the causality. Excessive speed is in fact a major contributor to many accidents. True you can go faster IF you increase the distance between you and other vehicles, you can also avoid obstacles IF you have good road conditions and your car is in good condition and you react in time even while speeding. The problem is most do not and all other things being equal the faster vehicle will be in more accidents. There is a direct causal connection between speed and accidents, the degree of that will depends on other external factors which can increase or decrease the probability.


RE: Keep it
By inperfectdarkness on 5/11/2009 12:15:56 PM , Rating: 2
thank goodness for AEM ECU's.

seriously though...studies have PROVEN that eliminating the speed limits does NOT result in any statistical correlation to traffic deaths.

you want to prevent fatalities? that's a function of how close cars follow each other & how attentive and responsible their operators are. actually...it's mostly the operators. but the overall speed has little to do with causing an accident.


RE: Keep it
By ArcliteHawaii on 5/11/2009 9:50:16 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
studies have PROVEN that eliminating the speed limits does NOT result in any statistical correlation to traffic deaths.


Care to share any links, or did you just pull that out of your ass? I've got actual studies that say otherwise:

quote:
We conclude that the overwhelming proportion of the decline in traffic fatalities from 1973 to 1974 must be attributed to the change in the speed limit.

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/1195812...

quote:
Institute studies showed that deaths on rural interstates increased 25-30 percent when states began increasing speed limits from 55 to 65 mph in 1987. In 1989, about two-thirds of this increase — 19 percent, or 400 deaths — was attributed to increased speed, the rest to increased travel.

http://www.iihs.org/research/qanda/speed_limits.ht...

If you just like driving fast or you don't like gov't telling you what to do, just say so. You don't have to make shit up to back up your opinions.


RE: Keep it
By inperfectdarkness on 5/12/2009 6:03:06 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.ibiblio.org/rdu/sl-irrel.html

people drive how they will. prevailing traffic patterns dictate speed.

speed limits are like bans on vices. they don't work well at all--and we'd have much more success with social norms providing the limits on behavior.


RE: Keep it
By iFX on 5/11/2009 1:38:43 PM , Rating: 3
Says who? There are still Ford Model Ts puttering around almost a century later.

Take a modern car like a Ford Focus - there is an almost unending supply of parts for these cars - you could literally keep one running indefinitely with repairs and maintenance. Anything on the car that could break or wear out can be replaced.


RE: Keep it
By Pessimism on 5/11/2009 3:04:59 PM , Rating: 2
What do you propose be done when the welded unibody rots out?


RE: Keep it
By ClownPuncher on 5/11/2009 6:12:18 PM , Rating: 2
Scrap your robot butler for frame parts.


RE: Keep it
By iFX on 5/12/2009 10:18:41 AM , Rating: 2
I suppose you missed the part where I said "Anything on the car that could break or wear out can be replaced."

Yes, even the frame of the car can be repaired and sections replaced if needed. Contrary to what you may believe, there are plenty of skilled welders and metal workers who exist outside of an automotive factory.


RE: Keep it
By ArcliteHawaii on 5/11/2009 9:52:02 PM , Rating: 2
Cuba has kept their 1950s era vehicles running until the current day. ICE vehicles have an average lifespan of 20 years. There's no reason that you can't make one last 30 with a little care.


RE: Keep it
By Shuri on 5/11/2009 9:55:13 AM , Rating: 2
Is it weird that I thought a "car nut" might be the first to post?

I don't disagree with you though, I really hate all this unnecessary control the governments want over every aspect of our lives.

And... I must admit that I enjoy speeding once in a while.
It's the irrational animal within us all that must be let loose once in a while.
:P


RE: Keep it
By Lord 666 on 5/11/09, Rating: 0
RE: Keep it
By WoWCow on 5/11/2009 10:11:09 AM , Rating: 2
Cheer up, I'm pretty sure in a few years they'll also happen to have a special model with a sexy voice or innuendo laced for certain drivers:

"This is going too fast sir, can we please slow down sir?"

"Take off and enter the highway here sir..."

"Please sir, take it slow and steady..."

"Turn right... there... and please take the exit here now sir"

"No sir, this is fine as long as your significant other does not know about this."


RE: Keep it
By Mortando on 5/11/2009 12:12:33 PM , Rating: 3
You say "sexy voice", but all I can hear is Marcie from Peanuts.


RE: Keep it
By Aloonatic on 5/12/2009 6:03:42 AM , Rating: 2
I could only hear C-3PO

*Gets coat and leaves to check himself into the nearest hospital*


RE: Keep it
By corduroygt on 5/11/2009 10:34:54 AM , Rating: 4
Don't worry it won't happen. It'll only take one accident when someone's gas pedal is deactivated when they're trying to overtake on a single lane road, or trying to join a highway where everyone's going 80+ mph, and there'd be lawsuits up the ass.


RE: Keep it
By foolsgambit11 on 5/11/2009 11:59:29 AM , Rating: 2
Overtaking on a single lane road: If there's an accident, you're at fault. And it's still against the law to speed while overtaking. Besides, there will be a lot less need to pass when you can't drive faster than the speed limit to begin with.

On merging onto the freeway, you must yield to freeway traffic. You again will be at fault for attempting to merge when you couldn't safely. Besides, where is there traffic thick enough that you can't find a hole to merge into, but where everybody is still going 80+ mph?

There are plenty of older cars out there that have trouble making it up to 70 mph in the first place, and they all safely merge onto highways every day.

I don't disagree that there's a good chance people will try pursuing lawsuits. But I don't think they'll win. The laws are structured so that, if you're driving responsibly and defensively, you'll never have to speed to stay safe.


RE: Keep it
By foolsgambit11 on 5/11/2009 12:07:45 PM , Rating: 2
I do think there should be some sort of override, despite all of that. Maybe a button that, when pushed, gives you 30 seconds of override, and can't be pushed again until the vehicle returns to the speed limit, or something like that.


RE: Keep it
By ziggo on 5/11/2009 1:08:07 PM , Rating: 2
Besides, where is there traffic thick enough that you can't find a hole to merge into, but where everybody is still going 80+ mph?

You have ovbiously never experienced the rush that is LA county traffic. Generally, right before everything comes to a complete halt, all lanes are going 80 in very dense traffic.


RE: Keep it
By Suntan on 5/11/2009 1:16:56 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Besides, where is there traffic thick enough that you can't find a hole to merge into, but where everybody is still going 80+ mph?


Come on up here to Minneapolis. You've got packed interstates with speeds routinely in excess of 70 mph (the speed limit.)

Like it or not, but the *reality* is that the people that are most likely to cause an accedent around these parts are the few people that are actually going the speed limit when *everyone else* is going at least 10mph faster.

-Suntan


RE: Keep it
By tmouse on 5/11/2009 1:38:03 PM , Rating: 2
It's interesting to blame the person who is following the law as the cause of the accident. I do not disagree that an accident could happen but the blame should rest entirely on the speeder. They are the ones who are decreasing the time necessary to react and avoid the accident.


RE: Keep it
By Pryde on 5/12/2009 1:49:23 AM , Rating: 2
Speeding does increase the distance to react and slow/stop but in theory the speeder should not have to REACT THAT QUICKLY .


RE: Keep it
By ArcliteHawaii on 5/12/2009 5:29:29 AM , Rating: 2
Do you even have a driver's license? Because your comments have no basis in reality.


RE: Keep it
By ArcliteHawaii on 5/11/2009 9:55:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Like it or not, but the *reality* is that the people that are most likely to cause an accedent around these parts are the few people that are actually going the speed limit when *everyone else* is going at least 10mph faster.


If it's "reality" please post a link to the study backing up your assertion. Otherwise, it's just an "opinion".

Thanks.


RE: Keep it
By Pryde on 5/12/2009 2:07:04 AM , Rating: 2
I would like you to post a study that actually proves increased speed = increased accidents caused by the increased speed.

And I don't mean a general study of statistics. Road A has 10% increased accidents since speed was increased from 45MPH to 60MPH. None of those extra accidents may have been caused by the increased speed limit.

quote:

Pick a road that has many intersections crossing it and a speed limit of 45MPH. Someone pulls out from an intersection onto this road and a car already traveling on this at 45MPH has to slam on their breaks to avoid this person and just misses them.

Now say this road is increased by 15MPH to 60MPH. Instead of the car just missing them there is now a accident. Increasing the speed increased the amount of accidents on the road but did not cause the accident.


Was this caused by the increased speed limit or by the driver pulling out without enough distance to do so safely?


RE: Keep it
By ArcliteHawaii on 5/12/2009 5:25:32 AM , Rating: 2
Well, Pryde (thy name is apt), this study in CT did statistical analysis of all the sections of road in that state before and after the speed limit went from 55 to 65. Accidents both per vehicle and per vehicle/mile increased 5%.

http://www.cga.ct.gov/2004/rpt/2004-r-0035.htm

quote:
Now say this road is increased by 15MPH to 60MPH. Instead of the car just missing them there is now a accident. Increasing the speed increased the amount of accidents on the road but did not cause the accident.


First you challenge me to produce a study to prove that increasing the speed actually causes accidents, then you provide an example of how increased speed could cause an accident? Are you schizophrenic?

Roads are not designed independent of speed limits. No engineer maps out a hairpin curve and then assigns a speed limit of 65 MPH. So it's entirely possible for the road to "cause" an accident if not designed properly. In fact, accident reports often lay blame to poor road design as a cause of accidents, along with driver error, mechanical failure, etc.


RE: Keep it
By JediJeb on 5/12/2009 1:30:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Now say this road is increased by 15MPH to 60MPH. Instead of the car just missing them there is now a accident. Increasing the speed increased the amount of accidents on the road but did not cause the accident.


You could argue this as true, because it was not the increase in speed that caused the accident but the lack of skill in the driver to correctly judge the speed of the oncoming car and pull out when they should have yielded. If getting a license here in the US was much harder by having to prove advanced driving skills instead of simple memorizing some rules long enough to pass a written test then putter around for a few minutes at a max of 35mph as the officer evaluates your ability to stop, go and park, then we would have fewer accidents. Currently in most locations if you can prove that you can drive 35mph in town, then you get a license that allows you to drive 70mph on the interstate. And it seems most forget the rules of the road soon after they take their test.


Valid point
By ninus3d on 5/11/2009 9:51:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Paul Biggs from the Association of British Drivers fears that the system will stop drivers from thinking. Drivers have similar problems with GPS devices and have at times literally nearly fallen off a cliff blindly following computer guidance.


Its a fully valid point IMO.
A dumb driver is cruising down the M25 at 60Mph but up ahead there are some construction work being done that for some reason haven't updated this digital map and the driver, like those who almost killed them self following the directions of their GPS (Or like Michael Scot took a "shortcut" through a lake) would not pay the attention he normally would without the aid of this machine...

I like all forms of increased road security as I grew up with 3 lethal car accidents happening close to me(was first at the scene when a 19 year old girl got cut in 3 crashing her tiny car into a truck driver that wasn't paying attention enough to avoid entering the opposite lane. I YELL in anger now when my friends are speeding or using the road as a playground, got NO patience for it) but I'm not sure I like installments that give the driver a feel of "lessened responsibility".




RE: Valid point
By Iaiken on 5/11/2009 10:14:09 AM , Rating: 2
Transportation Canada recently changed the laws around dangerous driving to add a new category and corresponding punishment. In all honesty, something like this couldn’t come soon enough and it doesn’t really affect me since I like to take my car to Track days with my car club whenever I want to get my speed and g-force fix.

If you are determined, at the discretion of the arresting officer, to be “Stunt Driving” you will suffer the following consequences:
- Immediate seizure of all participating vehicles for 7 days
- Licenses of all participants will be suspended for 7 days
- All participants shall be fined for $2000 to $10000

Under the new law, any of the following qualify as “stunt driving”:
- Lifting any tire from the surface of the road (wheelies or stoppies)
- Intentionally causing any tire to lose traction while turning (skids or drifting)
- Having the intention of causing a vehicle to spin (not sure how they're going to measure intentions...)
- Driving a vehicle in oncoming lanes next to another vehicle longer than is "reasonably" required to pass
- Driving with someone in the trunk (not sure what this has to do with racing or stunting)
- Driving while not sitting in the driver's seat
- Driving more than 50kph (approx. 30mph) over the speed limit
- Driving in a way that prevents others from passing
- Slowing down with the intention of slowing or interfering with another vehicle
- Driving with the intention of driving as close as possible to a vehicle, pedestrian or fixed object (i'm not sure what this one is about)
- Jumping a left turn at a green light before allowing straight-through traffic to proceed

What’s more, the authorities have been rather liberal in releasing details of such actions to the news agencies. If anything, this is great as it sends a clear message from the government that you should keep that shit on the closed circuit where it belongs and off public streets.
However, no written law will ever stop idiots from thinking that they are special or otherwise more deserving and important than thou…


RE: Valid point
By FITCamaro on 5/11/2009 12:43:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
- Driving in a way that prevents others from passing
- Slowing down with the intention of slowing or interfering with another vehicle
- Driving with the intention of driving as close as possible to a vehicle, pedestrian or fixed object (i'm not sure what this one is about)
- Jumping a left turn at a green light before allowing straight-through traffic to proceed


I don't see how any of these relate to "stunt" driving. They may be stupid or reckless, but I wouldn't call them "stunt" driving.


RE: Valid point
By tmouse on 5/11/2009 1:21:43 PM , Rating: 2
I guess that what they chose to call it, in NY many of those actions are called aggressive driving, which has additional penalties.


RE: Valid point
By satinspiral on 5/11/2009 5:06:10 PM , Rating: 2
of course, now volvo markets a car that stops itself, so, no worries about the above scenario once everybody has that feature.


Ugh, will these busy bodies just go away?
By psychobriggsy on 5/11/2009 10:39:49 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder if the Conservatives will keep that pledge from the last election to raise the speed limits to 80mph on suitable motorways (which were built for 100mph use, soon limited to 70 for cars built to '60s and '70s standards, i.e., naff brakes, fall apart at 80mph, as aerodynamic as a turd brick).

Another issue is that speed is listed as a factor in a minority (I've read 7% IIRC) of accidents, for the vast majority it is driver inattention, careless driving, etc. Arguably driving at 80 means the driver is more attentive than at 70, and forcing a driver who drives at 90 on motorways to edge along at 70 (on a flowing motorway) could mean they're more liable to cause an accident.

What about overtaking - you are allowed to exceed the speed limit in order to overtake safely on a road. This could potentially slow a car down at the critical time that it needs the speed. Clearly the system needs to monitor average speeds and only slow down if the car is consistently above (speed limit * 1.1) for a period of time, to allow short-burst speed when required.

Merging is another issue that could be overcome with the above restriction. Of course there are enough lorries and slow drivers on the road that merging at the posted speed limit shouldn't be an issue.

I do worry about the GPS thinking the car is on the wrong road though. If you're on a motorway and the car thinks you're on the 30mph road nearby then you could slow down dangerously. Still, most GPS systems don't have this problem at the moment.

This could stop the idiots that drive at 50 through 30mph residential areas though. Maybe using the system could be a punishment for people convicted of driving offenses.




RE: Ugh, will these busy bodies just go away?
By PlasmaBomb on 5/11/2009 11:40:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
you are allowed to exceed the speed limit in order to overtake safely on a road.


No you aren't.

Although everybody learns pretty quickly that on single carriage ways it's best to get the overtake done as quickly and safely as possible.


By psychobriggsy on 5/11/2009 5:20:08 PM , Rating: 2
Rule 163 of the highway code states that you should "move quickly past the vehicle you are overtaking". Indeed when I was taught to drive this was mentioned as being a time when you could momentarily exceed the speed limit (although a speed camera has no ability to discern, and in a law environment which punishes speed rather than poor driving...). Being on the wrong side of the road is very dangerous, and even though you shouldn't overtake when it is anything but safe to do so, no sane driver would limit themselves to 60mph overtaking a lorry going at 55mph or even a granny going at 45.


By Hoser McMoose on 5/12/2009 6:30:47 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I do worry about the GPS thinking the car is on the wrong road though. If you're on a motorway and the car thinks you're on the 30mph road nearby then you could slow down dangerously. Still, most GPS systems don't have this problem at the moment.

I have a pretty considerably amount of experience with this (I work on designing GPS systems not entirely unlike what is being proposed here), and this is an entirely valid concern.

Most GPS systems don't have this problem 99.999% of the time, but that is still 100 cars a day that could encounter it, a clearly unacceptable amount! It can be avoided but to make sure that such occurrences are so rare that they'll won't have any negative consequences will be excruciatingly difficult.

Keep in mind that GPS is far from 100% reliable, you'll get spurious garbage data every once in a while at the best of times, particularly any time you'll encounter multipath errors (where you're getting both the original signal and an 'echo' of that signal bouncing off something). Highway overpasses are one area where multipath signals are common, we've encountered cases where speeds in excess of 200km/h were reported by GPS just because a person driving 110km/h passed under an overpass. Such obvious errors can be filtered, but other cases are much trickier.

One other point of note, the company I work for is doing some work in the U.K. (not related to this project) and I was surprised at just how fast they drive there. We regularly record speeds in excess of 150km/h (approaching 100mph) there! It's nothing like the speeds we used to run into while working in Germany (250km/h anyone?) but they definitely drive much faster in the U.K., on average, than we do here in North America.


This would never fly in the US.
By 91TTZ on 5/11/2009 11:01:49 AM , Rating: 2
Not because of any freedom issues, but rather because it would effectively dry up the cash crop of speeding tickets that many towns depend on. Political pressure would be working against this idea, with towns banning such technology ("for your freedom", of course)

It's a shame that many towns consider the police force to be armed tax collectors but that's what it's become.




RE: This would never fly in the US.
By FITCamaro on 5/11/2009 12:39:53 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah nevermind the crimes they solve, the women being beaten they save, the drug dealers they get off the streets, etc.

Armed tax collectors. If you get a ticket, man up to it. You were breaking the law. I have no problem with speed limits (although I think many should be raised). I know speed limits do nothing to prevent accidents, they just try to stop you from going too fast so if you're in one, you(or the person you hit) have a chance of surviving. But if you get a speeding ticket, your fault.

I do however think a person should be able to choose for themselves whether or not they want to be able to wear a seat belt. Being against speed limits though is basically saying you think it should be ok to do 50 mph down a residential street.

There are valid arguments on both sides. But I don't think it'd be a good thing for people to be legally zooming down freeways at 120 mph. Yes I've gone that fast but not to actually get somewhere. I had a bit of fun and slowed back down. I don't trust the quality of roads nearly enough to stay at that kind of speed for an extended period of time.


By ArcliteHawaii on 5/11/2009 10:21:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I know speed limits do nothing to prevent accidents


Actually, they do. I document this upthread.


RE: This would never fly in the US.
By 91TTZ on 5/12/2009 3:03:16 PM , Rating: 2
FIT, you completely missed the point I was making.

The police themselves have a purpose, but the low-level politicians would rather use them to generate revenue than to solve crimes. The officers aren't to blame, they're just doing their jobs.


HELLO
By jay401 on 5/11/2009 4:53:38 PM , Rating: 2
This would ONLY be acceptable if it also forced people up to the speed limit in fair weather/road conditions. The worst thing about driving is not speeders, it's people driving too slowly. They're often the bigger danger, despite the government not wanting to admit that.




RE: HELLO
By ArcliteHawaii on 5/11/2009 10:25:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
it's people driving too slowly


Please provide a link to the study that shows people driving too slowly are an accident hazard.


RE: HELLO
By 91TTZ on 5/12/2009 3:11:07 PM , Rating: 2
I've been reading your posts in this thread and the prevailing trend seems to be that you're an insecure coward on the road. You sound like a really fearful person who can't wait for the government to intervene in your life. It probably makes you feel safer since you're so incapable yourself.


RE: HELLO
By ArcliteHawaii on 5/13/2009 9:52:05 PM , Rating: 2
Heh heh. Nice ad hominem attack, but no.

I would like the bloviators to back up their assertions with actual data. "Speed limits don't prevent accidents!" "Raising the speed limit didn't increase accidents or fatalities!" are just opinions without data. I would like to have a discussion based on the facts, not opinions. If people were saying things like, "Increasing the speed limit increases accidents, but the economical efficiency of the time saved increases GDP by $10b per year" and back that up with a study, I might keep my mouth shut. As it stands, it's just a bunch of jerks complaining about how oppressive gov't is b/c they want to have the ability to break the law. If you don't like gov't telling you what to do, go to Somalia. It's a libertarian paradise.

It is perfectly reasonable for the government (OUR representatives) to enforce the laws. If technology allows the laws to be enforced via speed governors, so be it. Notice that other speed controlling devices like radar speed detectors have gained widespread implementation despite protestation by an outraged minority of people who like to speed and break the law. If it works, and can be shown to save lives and money, it will most likely be implemented. Whether or not this frustrates me personally is irrelevant.

As for the future, I like driving, but if a computer can do it better (and this is only a matter of time), then that's reality. I'll sit in my car and surf the internet or play WOW while the car safely takes me to my destintation.


Easier way
By acer905 on 5/11/2009 10:32:52 AM , Rating: 2
If they really wanna get people to stop speeding, i bet there are easier ways. For example, add a wireless transmitter that sends VIN number and speed of vehicle for a moderate distance, enough to reach a cop sitting on the side of the road. Then just have auto-ticketing enabled. If the signal says your speeding, you get a fine. I would think it would be cheaper than this new computer.

However, i still say that speeding is not that dangerous, if the person is driving well. The people that speed, swerve around people, cut people off, randomly change lanes, and act like total jerks are the problem. The person driving 80, passing people only on the left, and then moving to the right when people are coming up behind them, are not the problem. Its not speed, its recklessness that needs to be prevented




RE: Easier way
By PlasmaBomb on 5/11/2009 11:42:37 AM , Rating: 2
They are trialling that as well.


By kattanna on 5/11/2009 11:49:06 AM , Rating: 2
next up.. they will make it illegal for anyone to modify their own cars as they will have to use that blunt instrument to curtail people making, selling/buying, and using mod chips for their cars to get around such silly laws.




By ArcliteHawaii on 5/11/2009 10:22:55 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure if a speed governor is implemented, there will be a law making it illegal to modify or disable it.


So government wants to make less money?
By Nat495 on 5/11/2009 1:04:57 PM , Rating: 2
After all, if everyone isn't speeding then there will be no speeding tickets, and there goes that source of government revenue.




By ArcliteHawaii on 5/11/2009 10:24:42 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure the govn't will find a way to fund the police stations. And it will be less arbitrary than the current speeding ticket system that is now in place. A lot of small towns over enforce their speeding ticket laws, while others do nothing. It's very uneven.


Not their problem?
By MrPeabody on 5/11/2009 10:40:30 AM , Rating: 2
I can think of numerous failure-states for this technology. I'm sure those will be beaten to death in other threads.

My question: if one of these failure-states is encountered and the driver is accosted for speeding, who's fault would it be?

Maybe a governing body, for not updating the speed-map. Or maybe the car manufacturer (or whomever is responsible for implementing this speed-governor-doohickey) for shoddy manufacturing. Or maybe even the driver, saints preserve us, for not figuring out that said doohickey was functioning incorrectly.

I can't help but think that this idea is just another complication without any kind of net benefit.




What next?!?
By Skilty on 5/11/2009 11:18:03 AM , Rating: 2
Ok so I live in the UK, we pay 70% fuel duty and then sales tax on the fuel duty. We pay car tax, we have speed cameras all over the place, we have average speed cameras, we have speed bumps, we have traffic calming and now we have the prospect of speed limits being forced on us. If I break the speed limit that is my choice and I know the implications if I am stopped for speeding.

Now I am more than happy for my car to drive itself completely, in theory a motorway then needs no speed limit as I am not physically driving and I can read, sleep or chat with the kids but this is just plain dumb.

The speed limits do nothing for fuel consumption and make pollution worse. Compounded with the fact that the used car market is going to thrive if they introduce this and older cars not as efficient or "clean".

I can see it now, sorry sir you are being fined for not using your adaptive speed control, sir you are being fined as you went through a variable speed at excessive speed using your adaptive speed control and it is still your responsibility to ensure the car obeys the speed limit even though the government provide the digital maps and speed limits.

Now based on previous government performance of loosing data, IT project cost overruns and the fiasco around ID cards I can see this going without a hitch, not!

The most amusing thing is that we elect these idiots to government and let them slowly erode our rights and freedom.




How many roads?
By Helbore on 5/11/2009 1:07:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The computer brain of the system will be programmed with all of the roads that compromise the M25 for the trial


Last time I checked, the M25 only consisted of one road; Namely, the M25! In case the author was not aware, the M25 is not an area, it is a motorway!

I assume the article is meant to read "...all of the roads within the limits of the M25," being that the M25 is a ring-road that runs around London.

As for this technology itself, I can't stand the idea. Leaving aside the issues of impeding freedom, anyone who is a driver knows that there can be any number of unusual instances where speeding might, in fact, be the safrer option. Most of the time it is unnecessary, but who wants to be forcibly limited in a potentially dangerous situation?




Ok up to a point
By mindless1 on 5/11/2009 10:57:28 PM , Rating: 2
This is reasonable, If it is kept to looser limits. Support the limit is 55 MPH, there are times where for safety reasons it could be better to speed up than to slow down, within reason.

I think it reasonable to give a 15MPH short term, or 10MPH continuous limit over the speed limit. If it is a long term, dozens of seconds average, then maybe lower it to 5 MPH over, BUT at the same time they should re-evaluate speed limits, todays cars handle better than yesteryears so what was the max safe speed in a 1980 car may be unrealistically slow in a 2010 car.

We could say it has to be the lowest common denominator speed, but it might be safer for the few rare 1980 cars to drive at the speed the 2010 drivers want to do, rather than have the 201 drivers speeding and the older cars driving slower than they are. Traffic tends to be safest when all travel at the same speed so passing is minimized.




Wrong impression
By martinrichards23 on 5/12/2009 4:45:32 AM , Rating: 2
Many other posters have got the wrong impression of what is happening.

This is just a trial of a technology that users *could* use if they *want* to in the future, no one (other than misreporting media) has suggested this will ever be forced upon anyone other than bus drivers etc.




superspeedway
By strikeback03 on 5/12/2009 8:48:02 AM , Rating: 2
Isn't this going to have pretty much the same effect as restrictor plates on NASCAR cars at superspeedways? Everyone is going to just keep the pedal floored to go as fast as the system will let them, resulting in large packs of cars moving the same speed which will amplify any accidents that might occur?




By VampArmand on 5/12/2009 11:43:33 AM , Rating: 2
Hate to rain on your parade. You have about as much right to speed as you do to pirate a CD. It's very silly to say that this is a socialist thing. It is just the govt. choosing to enforce something. Speeding is NOT A FREEDOM. It is breaking the law. I guess intro Govt. is not taught at Universities anymore.




Terrible idea in terms of safety
By Joeingo on 5/12/2009 12:19:01 PM , Rating: 2
I think that from a safety perspective, this is horrible. There are many instances on roads and highways were in order to keep safe you must exceed the speed limit to avoid a collision. Plus, if it is not a requirement in every car, people limited to the speed limit will not be able to keep up with the flow of traffic. Where I live this would be extremely dangerous because going the speed limit means you are going about 20mph slower than the cars around you. I am very against this as it stands now.




Wait a minute.
By Hieyeck on 5/12/2009 2:34:18 PM , Rating: 2
If people wanted to actually follow the speed limit, what's wrong with cruise control?




saves lives?
By otispunkmeyer on 5/12/2009 5:20:55 PM , Rating: 2
what a load of bull

ok excessive speed will probably have you and who ever you hit dead.

but doing 35 in a 30...i'd say the person you mow down has got about the same chance of kicking the bucket.

driving drunk, under the influence of drugs and just driving without due care and attention is what gets people killed and last time i checked you can do all those things whilst not speeding.




Not so bad
By unableton on 5/13/2009 10:51:45 AM , Rating: 2
I really can't say I would mind it.

Would have saved me 200 bucks on that last speeding ticket =/




Not enough.
By reader1 on 5/11/09, Rating: -1
RE: Not enough.
By acer905 on 5/11/2009 10:28:25 AM , Rating: 2
It might be a good idea in theory, but there are many people who would never trust a computer to control the trip. Not to mention the sheer cost of implementing it, and having to force everyone to switch over to the new "system"


RE: Not enough.
By reader1 on 5/11/2009 10:48:18 AM , Rating: 1
I would much rather have a computer drive than a bunch of idiots who eat, talk on the phone, sing, sleep, put on makeup, or watch porn when they should be driving.


RE: Not enough.
By acer905 on 5/11/2009 11:00:23 AM , Rating: 4
But would you have a computer drive your car when those same idiots are on the road? Unless the computer was extremely advanced, it would not be able to react to them the same way you can when you are driving.


RE: Not enough.
By mrteddyears on 5/11/2009 11:49:31 AM , Rating: 2
The only reason these idiots want this is to charge you for road usage. The fools in power will be kicked out in May so no worries about this stupid systems.

They will have to come up with a better system to pay back the 1 trillon dollars of debt we have here.


RE: Not enough.
By ArcliteHawaii on 5/11/2009 10:09:59 PM , Rating: 2
That computers will drive in the future is all but certainty. It's only a matter of when. Computers already drive fairly flawlessly on closed tracks. An upgrade or two in tech to the sensors and controlling software, and a lot of simulation testing to iron out the bugs, and this would be ready for prime time. 10 years? 20?

Once insurance companies are shown that computer drivers are safer than human ones, the human drivers will have a much higher premium to drive manually, if they can get insured at all.


RE: Not enough.
By 91TTZ on 5/11/2009 11:50:14 AM , Rating: 3
What about people who enjoy driving? Wouldn't it be easier to simply make the people in urban areas take public transportation?


RE: Not enough.
By FITCamaro on 5/11/2009 12:30:56 PM , Rating: 5
You are a scary, scary person.

Does food even taste good in your world where the government tells you how to do every little thing in your life?

Maybe you want to live in such a dull, boring world where you don't have to do anything for yourself, but the vast majority of us don't.

I enjoyed hitting 120 mph yesterday.


RE: Not enough.
By reader1 on 5/11/2009 1:03:15 PM , Rating: 1
I hate driving, it's monotonous and mindless. I can think of million things I would rather do than move a car from point A to point B, including sleep.

quote:
I enjoyed hitting 120 mph yesterday.


Automated vehicles will be able to safely travel at 200+ mph, far beyond what humans can handle. Since traffic will be coordinated by a central computer, high speeds and efficiency are possible while keeping people safe.


RE: Not enough.
By FITCamaro on 5/11/2009 4:37:59 PM , Rating: 2
So stay in your home or take public transportation. Don't tell the rest of us we can't drive because you're too lazy to.

And a computer isn't going to be able to handle a car hitting a pothole when you're going 200 mph any better than you can.

This isn't that Will Smith movie where all the roads are perfect.


RE: Not enough.
By ArcliteHawaii on 5/12/2009 5:43:09 AM , Rating: 2
Really, FIT, are you thinking at all before typing?

quote:
And a computer isn't going to be able to handle a car hitting a pothole when you're going 200 mph any better than you can.


Where do you get this stuff from? Modern cars are already full of computer controlled driving improvements from anti-lock brakes to active traction control to active collision avoidance. They are computer controlled because the computers do it better than the humans do .

A modern car with computer controlled traction and braking systems will almost certainly handle a pothole at 200mph than you in your late 80s Camaro.

And in the future, cars are only going to get better. Computers excel at crunching the kind of data sensors on a car provide and producing a solution based on the physics of a situation. Computer reaction time and processing speed is much faster than what humans can do for this kind of situation.

I understand you like driving and don't want that privilege to be threatened. And maybe it won't in your lifetime. But it will at some point.


RE: Not enough.
By FITCamaro on 5/12/2009 8:46:09 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe you don't understand just how stressed a car is at 200 mph. Automotive magazines rarely do top speed tests anymore with sports cars because of the dangers of going 200 mph. When they do do top speed testing, they do it on flat, level surfaces with little to no imperfections in the pavement. Also with as little wind as possible.

If you hit a big enough pot hole at 200 mph and the car loses control, computers aren't going to magically help you regain traction. At that speed you're likely going to literally fly off the road. Look at the recent NASCAR crash. The guy was "only" going about 180 when he got spun around backwards and the car lifted off the ground.

At those speeds, you're praying you have the aerodynamics and down force to keep the car on the ground. Antilock braking systems and roll control don't mean anything when your tires don't have any grip.

You can trust your life to a computer all you want at that kind of speed. I won't. I wouldn't even want to drive 200 mph all the time. If you hit anything at that speed, its going to destroy the car. Look on youtube for the video of a guy hitting a bird at 150+ mph. It completely destroys the windshield.

Even in I Robot they weren't going 200 mph on that underground highway. They were doing like 120.


RE: Not enough.
By 91TTZ on 5/11/2009 4:46:13 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, but you missed his point and avoided my question. What about people who enjoy driving? What about those who don't want a computer to drive their car for them?


RE: Not enough.
By reader1 on 5/11/2009 5:38:01 PM , Rating: 2
Horseback riding was once the main form of transportation and many people enjoyed it. When cars came along, horseback riding became obsolete. Now, people only do it for fun. The same thing will happen when vehicles become automated. Manual cars will be niche product only for use on private property. Also, driving won't be taught anymore. Instead of learning to drive in high-school, kids will learn how to tell a car where to go by the time they're ten.


RE: Not enough.
By Pryde on 5/12/2009 2:14:13 AM , Rating: 2
Horseback riding became obsolete because a Vehicle could carry more, go faster and for longer and is far more comfy. This is more like the invention of the saddle & reins, it doesn't change the the mode of transport but the way in which we control it.


RE: Not enough.
By satinspiral on 5/11/2009 5:02:00 PM , Rating: 2
I agree 100% about the mind-numbing pointlessness of driving. A chaufffer, computer or otherwise, is definitely preferable.

Unfortunately, though, we'll never see 200+ mph speeds until we figure out how to pay for the MASSIVE losses in fuel efficiency caused by such velocities. The same system responsible for driving the nation's passengers would also be likely to optimize speed to reduce national dependence on foreign oil/lithium/whatever.

55mph for all!


RE: Not enough.
By Pryde on 5/12/2009 2:19:15 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I agree 100% about the mind-numbing pointlessness of driving. A chaufffer, computer or otherwise, is definitely preferable.


But there is a very large amount of people that enjoy driving, possibly even more than people who dislike driving.

What most people here are against is the government forcing us into this direction, if you want it fine but I do not.


RE: Not enough.
By ArcliteHawaii on 5/11/2009 10:13:39 PM , Rating: 2
Hey FIT, I don't see you demanding to control the speed of an airplane or train. Same deal. A highly trained "pilot" will be controlling cars in the futures. Get used to it.

Your 120MPH threatens my existence. Once it's feasible it will be taken from you, since you obviously can't be trusted with the responsibility.


RE: Not enough.
By 91TTZ on 5/12/2009 12:51:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hey FIT, I don't see you demanding to control the speed of an airplane or train. Same deal. A highly trained "pilot" will be controlling cars in the futures. Get used to it. Your 120MPH threatens my existence. Once it's feasible it will be taken from you, since you obviously can't be trusted with the responsibility.


Airplanes and trains are examples of mass transit. Individuals don't own those vehicles so obviously they can't demand to control them. If he wanted to get somewhere and didn't want to drive he could take one of the many forms of mass transit such as planes, trains or buses.

His point is that he gets enjoyment out of driving his own vehicle. That view is shared by the majority of the population.


RE: Not enough.
By ArcliteHawaii on 5/11/2009 10:01:43 PM , Rating: 2
EXACTLY. And it will be this way in the future, b/c the computer will drive better than a human could: better collision avoidance, faster reactions, 360 deg awareness, etc. Insurance companies will give huge discounts for cars that are computer controlled only. You'll have to pay a very strict premium to have manual control of your car once this is available.

Computer controlled vehicles are already a reality for wear testing new cars on closed tracks. The computer drives the new design 24/7 to put get it up to 100K miles. It's only a matter of time before this tech makes it into street cars.

The stupid thing is, you don't see people arguing that they should have control of the speed of a bus or a train. They don't complain about that, yet it would be a simple matter to allow the passengers to control it.


RE: Not enough.
By 91TTZ on 5/12/2009 2:20:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The stupid thing is, you don't see people arguing that they should have control of the speed of a bus or a train. They don't complain about that, yet it would be a simple matter to allow the passengers to control it.


How many people do you know that own their own airliners or trains? This is a completely different concept than a person wanting to drive the car that they personally own. I can drive a car, but I don't expect a taxi driver to let me drive when I take a taxi.


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