Vauxhall's new Insignia
will be the first of a wave of cars to have a forward-facing camera that can read road signs. The optional kit will detect speed limit and no overtaking signs – and flash up a reminder to the driver on the dashboard.
GM calls the tech, which will be launched in early 2009, Traffic Sign Recognition and it uses a small, wide-angled camera system supplied by Hella. It sits at the top of the windscreen near the rain sensors and rear-view mirror, scanning the road ahead taking 30 photos per second.It's 1984 all over again...
With a range of 100 metres, the camera focuses on circular patterns and then interprets the numbers inside by contour comparison; if a match is found on the software's database, that road sign will be flashed up in the driver's binnacle.
The front-facing camera is also used as a lane departure warning system, alerting the driver if they unintentionally swerve out of their lane on a motorway.Cars with cameras: a growing trend
More and more manufacturers are fitting cameras to their cars nowadays and you can expect a flood of systems like the Insignia's to be launched in 2009, including the new BMW 5-series
CAR tried out these new systems on Bosch prototypes in 2007. Click here to read more about the gadgets coming on your next car.