Vauxhall launches speed limit detectors on Insignia

Published: 19 June 2008

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.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet