By on November 18, 2008

You know how it is with press releases. You read through the hyperbole (“the first 750i of 1987 famously offering more computing power than NASA utilised to put man on the moon”) thinking of snarky things to say (as does my microwave oven). And then it hits you: there’s something not right here. Hang on; is that the speed limit I spy with my little eye? Sho’ nuff: the new BMW 7-Series marries the optional Lane Departure Warning system (achtung baby!) with the innocuously named “Speed Limit Display.” From the press release: “Using a camera mounted behind the rear view mirror, the system cross-references the GPS navigation system information and the real-world information to constantly monitor the legal speed limit, and relays this information to the driver in the dashboard or, if specified, into the Head-up Display. The car’s hard drive is pre-programmed with all of Europe’s speed limits but, in the case of road works or incidents, limits can vary. The camera reads the numbers on temporary road signs and over-rides the known speed limit, bringing this information constantly into the driver’s line of sight.” Dummkopf! Limits can vary! Link the GPS speed limits with the cruise control and Big Brother’s your spymaster! Coming to an island nation near you soon!

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13 Comments on “New BMW 7-Series Paves the Way for Speed Limiters...”


  • avatar
    alex_rashev

    Nutgonnahappen. Law-abiding citizens = billions in lost traffic enforcement revenue, and a carnage on the roads as people space out even more, now that watching for cops is no longer of any use.

    I wonder if people would start sabotaging highway signs by gluing on cardboard posters with 15mph speed limits, just to mess with the luxobarge drivers and their fancy-ass cameras.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    I know this is a slippery slope but I don’t think it’s such a bad idea, AS LONG AS IT ISN”T INTRUSIVE. If the car isn’t changing the cars speed for you I see this as a good thing. There are huge stretches of I-75 from Florida to Atlanta where you don’t have a clue what the speed limit is because there isn’t a sign for 10 or more miles. And the speed varies so much on that trip with construction zones and just plain speed traps, going from 70 to 60 to 70 to 50 to 40 to 70. You can’t just set the cruise at 80 anymore and know you are safe.

    Oh if any of you have done the stretch you will notice that anything with an orange barrel is a construction zone even if they finished construction a decade ago or won’t be starting it on that section for a year or 2.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Does this thing show a lower speed limit in case of dense fog or snow on the road? In the case of the snow, does it know the characteristics of the tires you are using?

    HUD speed limit notification… now even more people than ever will go at a certain designated speed instead of driving at a safe speed.

  • avatar
    Brendon from Canada

    Redbarchetta – aren’t you addressing the wrong problem with your reasoning? Sounds to me like the issue is with police/construction crews/whoever generating revenue by setting up “phony” construction zones. If this is in fact a grab for your wallet, won’t they simply change tactics if the car can accomodate the changes in speed?

    (BTW, I’ve travelled large swatches of I75 – I know of what you speak – it’s a royal pain!)

  • avatar
    Zarba

    The other question is whether the car stores that data and could use it to void your warranty.

    “We see where you were running 20 over on I-75 last month; therefore your warranty is void.”

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Oh, the 7-Series, also known as “the car that proves BMW overextends itself” or “the German Acura RL”.

    A note about the 7-Series: if you want to see the technology that BMW is going to back off from, greatly refine or outright omit from the 3-Series, you’ll see it in this car.

  • avatar
    TomAnderson

    Is it just me, or is BMW becoming less cool by the day?

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    @ Zarba

    LMAO…i actually coughed up my water.

    Good one!

  • avatar

    If the car were to change its speed automatically, it seems that would open the manufacturer to a suit if the car got rear ended.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    So much for BMWs being driver’s cars. With speed governed to match the posted limit, the only difference between a new 7 series and an old Caprice or Crown Vic would be $75,000. Actually, the latter would be superior since they wouldn’t have governors.

  • avatar
    CaliCarGuy

    ugghh im so sick of bmw wit these damn in car techno nannies. sooner or later we wont even have to drive a car anymore. and wat happens wen all this shit breaks down?

  • avatar

    Uh, there is no mention of governors. It’s just a possibility. As it has been for many years. Having a HUD showing the limit is nothing that special. My TomTom shows the speed limit and glows red when I exceed it, OOOOOOOH! Big brother, blah blah.

  • avatar
    JJ

    Yeah, the car will not slow down itself if you’re over the speed limit, it will just inform you that you are doing so, in case you didn’t mean to. Just like those electrical signs on the side of the road always saying “You’re driving too fast” with a sad smiley face.

    Hopefully though, you can also turn this option off, and hopefully you’re insurance company can’t use the data to say “yeah, you were clearly doing 5 over the speed limit there, so I’m sorry but we won’t be able to cover the damage you caused with that collision”.

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