Volvo to keep hit-and-miss speed limit detector

Volvo's Road Sign Information system

VOLVO says it has no plans to dump its road sign recognition system that regularly informs drivers of incorrect speed limits.

The safety-focused Swedish brand says the system – which displays the speed limit in the three-mode dynamic instrument cluster – is here to stay, despite luxury rivals ditching their systems due to similar inaccuracies.

Australian school zones have foiled similar speed limit recognition systems from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, while speed limits posted on the back of many heavy vehicles can also lead to incorrect readings.

“The system is provided as an aid to the driver, and doesn’t remove driver responsibility for awareness of the applicable road rules,” a Volvo spokesman told Wheels.

“The system will provide information, and it’s up to the driver to determine the validity/relevance of the information.”

The so-called Road Sign Information function is part of the Driver Alert System that first arrived in 2013 in the V40 and has since spread to the S60, V60 and Volvo XC60.

BMW was the first to introduce speed limit recognition technology to Australia in its 5-Series in 2011.

But it quickly dropped it and refunded buyers $700, citing “too many inconsistencies” with the way its camera read speed zones.

Mercedes-Benz doesn’t offer its speed limit recognition locally but continues to look at it.

“We had some engineers in Australia last year and they did some testing,” a Mercedes-Benz spokesman told Wheels, adding that engineers “weren’t comfortable” with the unique-to-Australia problems.

“It was extensive testing in cities, on country roads and in the outback and their position hasn’t changed in that they’re not comfortable introducing it in this market until there was some level of consistency … in terms of positioning of road signs and other signage around it.

“The last thing you want is false systems because then people lose faith in the system.”

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