Even the best of drivers occasionally let their foot press down a little too hard on the gas pedal. And while you might be able to talk your way out of a traffic ticket if a uniformed officer pulls you over, you’re likely just going to have to write a check if you’re nabbed by one of the increasingly common speed cameras popping up across the country.
But the engineers at Hyundai have come up with a way to save speeders from their own bad habits. The Korean carmaker is showing off a new system that not only can alert the driver to a hidden speed camera, but which will automatically slow the vehicle down to avoid a ticket.
“It knows there is a speed camera there,” the automaker’s spokesman Guido Schenken told reporters during a session marking the Korean launch of the newly redesigned 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan. “It knows where the speed camera is and it will adopt the correct speed.”
The system actually relies on some basic technology to pull off that seemingly miraculous trick. Its onboard navigation system has a database showing where speed cameras are known to operate, and that information is linked to the sedan’s auto-brake system. The driver is given an audible alert about a half-mile before they approach the speed camera. If the motorist doesn’t slow to the speed limit, the automatic braking system kicks in.
The speed camera system is the first offered by any automaker and is part of a broader suite of electronic safety, comfort and convenience features on the new Genesis sedan, which was designed to go up against such established luxury competitors as the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Whether it would be legal in other parts of the world is unclear. Several U.S. states, Canada and a number of other countries ban the use of radar detectors. But the Hyundai system relies on a database of known locations, rather than a detector system.
It’s unclear how often Hyundai will update the speed camera list, and without a way to constantly update the database, the system could provide a false sent of security if mobile speed cameras are being used. But the maker believes that even a bit of a helping hand will be welcomed by its owners.
Unfortunately, the speed camera detection system will only be offered in South Korea, at least for now, the maker says.
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For American motorists who want to avoid speeding tickets – without necessarily slowing down – there are a few options. Where legal, some radar detectors now have access to speed camera databases, as do a number of the portable navigation systems sold by Garmin.
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“Safety camera updates link your device to the Cyclops™ database, which is maintained daily and contains information about various safety cameras, such as fixed, average speed, mobile, variable, temporary/roadwork, red light and red light speed cameras,” the company notes.
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There also are speed camera apps for smartphones, such as CamSam, which claim to offer continuously updated databases. Like the Garmin navi units, they provide warnings ahead of a camera, but unlike the Hyundai system, it’s up to a driver to respond in time.
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