Big Opel/Vauxhall Is Watching

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
big opel vauxhall is watching

From the birthplace of George Orwell, now the most-watched nation in the world, comes news of a car that has nanny-cams of its own. Car Magazine UK tells us that the new Vauxhall/Opel Insignia will offer a camera system that can read traffic signs, and alert the driver when they have violated them. GM's Traffic Sign Recognition system uses a Hella-sourced (not in the Nor-Cal slang sense) wide-angle camera, that can take 30 photos per second at a range of up to 100 meters. It can recognize traffic signs, and by comparing them to an on-board database, it can tell if the driver is violating their edicts. When you drive your Insignia at 25 mph in a 20 mph zone, expect a "reminder" to flash on your dashboard, removing any doubt that you are, in fact, breaking the law. Though the proliferation of remote speed-control cameras in Britain give this option some merit there, less repressive societies will doubtless provide much weaker markets for GM's new technology. Still, when we heard that GM would "democratize technology" with its newly-upmarket Opel/Vauxhall brands, the last thing we expected was an option that facilitates continuous government intrusion into the driving experience. Sounds more like they've "totalitarianized technology."

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  • Jonny Lieberman Jonny Lieberman on Jun 19, 2008

    carlisimo: on the Lexus IS350, there's a ring around the Speedo that lights up orange when you hit 75 mph. It then switches to red when you pass 100 mph. I'm not sure how Lexus wanted me to interpret it, but I loved it.

  • Quasimondo Quasimondo on Jun 19, 2008
    I always wondered why cars didn’t have 70mph governors on them… not that I want them, but it makes sense. You've just answered your own question.
  • HarveyBirdman HarveyBirdman on Jun 20, 2008

    carlisimo: JDM market cars do indeed have chimes that kick in at 100 kph (or at least they did the last time I was in Japan, many moons ago). I can remember being a passenger on several road trips with that "ding-dong" sound droning on and on; in fact, I can hear it now as I type this....And if you're wondering if it has an effect, take note of how many imported, left-hand drive MBs are weaving through the JDM traffic on the freeways. Mr. Niedermeyer, I have to thank you for your hella bad writeup. It took me right back to the late 80s in the Bay Area. Surely the local slang has progressed since then, or has it?