Volkswagen system reads road signs, in case you miss them
It can be tricky to keep track of road signs on the move, especially in heavy traffic or poor conditions. Having looked at the speedo, worked out what the four-wheel drive in front of you is doing and checked on the kids in the back seat, the speed limit might have changed without you knowing it. The Volkswagen Dynamic Road Sign Display makes it easier to check how fast you should (or shouldn't) be going, flashing an image of the most recent sign in front of the driver.
Unlike the snoozy passengers in the back seat, Dynamic Road Sign Display is always alert. It uses a forward-facing camera to recognize road signs, and then displays what it registers on the center console, instrument binnacle or head-up display. The system can detect speed signs, highway exits, no overtaking zones and motorway-end signs, and couples with the rain sensor fitted to some cars to work out when weather-specific limits apply.
To ensure the car doesn't feed misinformation to the driver, the system cross-references the information from the camera with navigation and current vehicle data. Theoretically, that means the driver shouldn't be told the limit is 70 mph (113 km/h) on a narrow suburban street, even if the camera mistakenly registers a highway speed sign.
This might seem like overkill in the US, where motorway limits are clearly signed and rarely change based on the weather. But it has the potential to be really useful in Europe, where speed limit changes can be harder to work out, especially for foreign drivers who aren't familiar with what makes a motorway different from a highway or autobahn.
Dynamic Road Sign Display will be available on select Volkswagens. Whether or not it's available will depend where in the world you are, and whether your car has the requisite camera and navigation kit as an option. You can check out the system in action in the video below.