Australasian Intelligent Speed Adaptation Initiative - Big Road Brother

Australasian Intelligent Speed Adaptation initiative is a technology that can automatically slow a speeding car using satellite technology that will be tried in Australia.

All of the state governments in Australia, and the New Zealand government, have been in talks to implement the system. The first implementation will probably be in Victoria, Australia. Trials in New South Wales and Western Australia are planned for later this year.

Big Road Brother doesn't come cheap; the system costs from $700 to $1,200 per vehicle. It will be used on government fleet cars first.

The Australasian Intelligent Speed Adaptation initiative uses GPS technology and a database of roads and speed limits to determine actions, which occur on three levels:

  • Drivers get an audible warning they are over the limit at level one.
  • At level two, the device cuts power to the engine to prevent the driver from speeding, but the system can be adjusted or overridden.
  • At level three, the system cannot be switched off or adjusted and all speeding is cut.

Estimates on accident reduction indicate that serious accidents could be cut twenty percent; fatalities by sixty percent.

I don't recall any exact sfnal precedents for this idea. In Old Fireball, a 1941 story by Nat Schachner, speeders were given tickets immediately by an automated system.

Kerry looked obediently at the little oblong screen above the dashboard. On it, flashing neatly, was imprinted a summons for violation of the traffic laws. The photoelectric eyes at each crossing had clocked the gyro's speed. As it passed the legal limit, the automatic mechanism recorded the offender's license, sent out the impulses that printed the summons in the offender's cab.
(Read more about the automatic speeding fine)

Concern over speeding predates the modern era. In the remarkably prescient 1894 story A Journey in Other Worlds, there is a reference to instantaneous Kodaks which could be placed on a road for speed control.

The Australasian Intelligent Speed Adaptation Initiative is really like an automated version of Greg Bear's Cop Block, a system by which police officers trailing a speeding vehicle can cut off engine power.

All cars and trucks in the U.S. were now required to have Cop Block. A patrol car could radio a coded signal that slowed and then shut down the engine. Workarounds were illegal and the fines were expensive, plus real jail time.
(Read more about Greg Bear's Cop Block - with comments by the author)

Update 20-Oct-2009: Keith Laumer used an earlier version of this idea in his 1965 novel A Plague of Demons; see the entry for police control-override. End update.

Via Big Brother speed control to be trialled.

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