Even the best drivers occasionally press their foot a little too hard on the gas pedal.
But the engineers at Hyundai have come up with a way to save speeders from their own bad habits. The automaker is showing off a new system that not only alerts the driver to hidden speed cameras, but will automatically slow the vehicle down to avoid a ticket.
"It knows there is a speed camera there," spokesman Guido Schenken told reporters during a session marking the Korean launch of the newly redesigned 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan. "It knows where the speed camera is and it will adopt the correct speed."
The system relies on some basic technology. Its onboard navigation system has a database showing where speed cameras are known to operate, and that information is linked to the sedan's auto-brake system. Drivers are given an audible alert about a half-mile before they approach the camera. If the motorist doesn't slow to the speed limit, the automatic braking system kicks in, gradually slowing the vehicle.
The speed camera system is the first offered by any automaker and is part of a broader suite of electronic safety, comfort and convenience features on the new Genesis sedan, which was designed to compete against such established luxury competitors as the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
For now, the speed camera detection system will only be offered in South Korea. But questions surrounding the legality of the technology are likely to arise if it makes its way over to the U.S.
Several states, Canada and a number of other countries ban the use of radar detectors. But the Hyundai system relies on a database of known locations, rather than a detector system. That difference means, however, that the technology would not work against cops scanning speed from radar detectors on the side of the road.
For American motorists who want to avoid speeding tickets without slowing down, there are a few options. Where legal, some radar detectors now have access to speed camera databases, as do a number of the portable navigation systems sold by Garmin.
There also are speed camera apps for smartphones, such as CamSam, which claim to offer continuously updated databases. Like the Garmin navigation units, they provide warnings ahead of a camera, but unlike the Hyundai system, it's up to a driver to respond in time.