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by Mike Zazaian October 16, 2006 - 2:00pm, 3 Comments

A graphical rendering of Siemens' speed recognition system

A new technology from German electronics company Siemens scans the road the for speed signs and adjusts the speed accordingly.

Using a single video camera, the system constantly scans the road for speed limit signs. When the camera identifies a speed limit posted on a sign, the driver’s speed is checked against that of the sign, and the driver is warned if they are traveling above the posted speed limit.

As an additional safety precaution the information for the system can project onto a heads-up display on the lower-half of the car’s windshield. The system can also integrate into adaptive cruise control technologies, which would allow the car to automatically slow down if the driver is speeding.

A graphical rendering of Siemens' Driver Attention System

Siemens has also introduced a new Driver Attention System aimed to keep drowsy drivers alert. The new system uses a small camera and infrared light to constantly scan the driver’s face. If the software identifies patterns of sleepiness, such as increased eye blinking or drooping features, the Driver Attention System will vibrate until the driver shows signs of increased alertness. If the vibration doesn’t rouse the driver at first, a series of beeps increase in volume until the driver wakes up. If the beeps don’t work the driver is out luck, however, as there’s as of yet no mention of an automated hand that slaps the driver across the face.

The Driver Attention System will be immediately available to truck manufacturers, while the speed limit recognition system will be available some time in 2008. There’s no word yet, though, as to which manufacturers will employ Siemens’ new technologies.

[via Siemens Press Release]