The Opel Insignia is the first production car that will have the unique feature that uses a dual function camera that has traffic sign recognition. The new system was built by Hella and it uses a single screen mounted camera to feed the separate processors for lane departure warnings and road sign recognition.
However, premium automaker BMW may just beat Opel to the honor of being first to market with a system that can identify signs. BMW will debut its system “later this year,” said technology spokeswoman Katharina BÃ¶lsterl.
Opel’s camera system will be available on Insignias from spring 2009, said spokesman Simon Hucknall. The upper-medium Insignia, which replaces the Vectra, will be unveiled at the London auto show next month and will go on sale in the final quarter of the year.
Premium models including the Mercedes S class and Lexus LS460 already offer frontal camera and night vision systems, but none has traffic-sign recognition capability. Many models â€“ from the lower-medium Citroen C4 and Honda CRV upwards â€“ already feature lane-departure warning.
Opel’s front camera system was jointly developed by Vauxhall-Opel and Hella. The camera detects both lane markings and signs alongside the road, taking 30 pictures a second. Traffic sign recognition software identifies circular patterns and then looks for the numbers or symbols within them. If these match the stored images, the appropriate speed limit figure appears in the instrument display. “It will even prioritize a no-overtaking sign over speed-limit warning signs,” says Opel.