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The Robots Are Coming

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be a robot?

Well, if the NSW Roads Minister has his way you may get the chance.

A device that enforceably restricts the speed of your car to the local speed limits is to be tested in Wollongong NSW.

Forty of the Intelligent Speed Adaption (ISA) units will be trialled in Wollongong, and, if the trial is successful it could be a standard feature in all new cars soon.

The system works by sending and receiving satellite signals, which calculates the speed limit against the car’s actual speed. If the car is exceeding the speed limit then there will be an audible warning and, if ignored by the driver,  the device will slow the car down to comply with the appropriate speed limit.

There will be an override facility that can turn off the device, but we still have concerns.

Whilst we are absolutely in favour of obeying the law, obeying the speed limits and reducing accidents and injuries on the road there are some real issues to think about here.

Firstly, if the device can be easily overridden, then the very people who want to speed will still do so, as the device can be made inoperative.

Then we have the situation where just occasionally you need to speed to get out of trouble, so if you  depress the accelerator to avoid an accident then will it respond and de-activate itself quickly enough?

What about road works? If you become dependent on the device to ‘keep you legal’ will it recognise temporary speed limits at roadworks (which are enforceable) or innocently speed you past them at the risk of being fined from a faulty or out of date device?

We’ve all probably had experience or heard tales about sat/navs that drop out, pick up the wrong info, send you down cart tracks or give you the wrong speed limit feedback, so suspician about the efficacy of this experiment is natural.

However if it can be proved to work, slow down the speedsters and reduce accidents then it will have our support.

We’ll keep you posted on any developments.

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