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A car that slows you down

Vehicles in London could soon be fitted with technology that would automatically slow them down if they break the speed limit.

Transport For London, or TFL, said it is investigating the technology and plans to run a trial next year in an attempt to cut road traffic deaths.

"We've got to the point where we need to look at new ways of reducing road deaths. This technology exists in the early stages of development, and we are looking at this now," a TFL representative told Silicon.com

A trial of speed-limiting technology is likely to take place next year with 10 TFL vehicles. The idea is that if the vehicle exceeds the speed limit, the engine revs are automatically limited so that it slows down again.

Motorists often claim that they are speeding because they don't know the limit in a particular area. But this would no longer be an excuse if their GPS satellite navigation system could alert them to changes in speed limit as they drive.

TFL is working on a map of the speed limits in London, which could then be loaded into satellite navigation systems.

"We are working with Ordnance Survey to come up with a digital speed-limit map," the TFL representative said. "There are so many variations of speed across the capital, we need to get that map sorted."

Another potential use is to equip buses with the technology. The TFL spokesman said: "If you are behind a bus that can't break the speed limit, then you can't break the speed limit."

Separately, The Times is reporting that speed cameras will start taking digital photographs of speeding drivers' faces, in order to crack down on motorists who try to evade fines by claiming that someone else was driving their car.

Steve Ranger of Silicon.com reported from London.

A car that slows you down - Wednesday, May 24, 2006 -

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