December 6, 2005 According to Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail, Transport Canada is currently testing a new device that uses GPS satellite technology to track drivers and their speed against a digital road map to ascertain when a driver is breaking the speed limits, and two-way technology designed to slow their speed. The portable road-safety device is a derivation of the Otto Driving Companion, a device which is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand but is commonly fitted to the dashboard of a vehicle. The Otto uses GPS technology to provide a driver with real-time information about their driving environment. The Otto Driving Companion can alert a driver of approaching photo-radar zones, potentially hazardous intersections, reduced speed limits, deer crossing areas, school zones, and pedestrian crossings.
The device is pre-loaded with a map of a coverage area, including speed limits and potential traffic hazards. When a vehicle fitted with the Otto exceeds the posted speed limit, or when it approaches a potentially hazardous location, the device alerts the driver via a voice prompt and an indicator light. This information translates into timely alerts that are intended to offer greater personal safety.
The Otto Driving Companion has been developed by PersenTech which plans to develop a range of devices based on the technologies and systems it has assembled, and the device under test by Transport Canada is one of them. The idea is that when the device detects a speed more than a certain percentage above the legal limit, it kicks in to make the accelerator harder to depress.
While we think the OttoMate is a great idea, we’re not so keen on going to all that trouble to make the gas pedal harder to depress. Withdrawal of driving privileges seems a far more most cost-efficient method of dealing with the road’s lawbreakers.