What Is Traffic Sign Recognition? And How Does It Work?

Have you ever found yourself cruising down a fairly open road only to have buildings pop up on either side. Suddenly, what your thought was a 40 mph zone has become a 30 mph area. Did you miss a sign? Is it actually a built up area? How fast should you actually be driving?

If you’re anything like me, this happens a lot, especially on busy roads where there’s lots of other driving tasks to concentrate on.

Wouldn’t it be great to have another set of eyes constantly scanning the road for changing speed limit signs or other upcoming hazards.

Well, that’s exactly what’s on offer with a nice bit of autonomous technology called traffic sign recognition systems!

In this car technology blog, I’ll take a closer look at traffic sign recognition, explaining how it works, whether it’s worth it and what to look out for. Let’s get started.

How does traffic sign recognition work?

Traffic sign recognition isn’t a very complicated technology. You stick a camera on the front of your car and hook it up to software that analyses images and picks out traffic signs. The software compares every sign to the one that came before it and if there’s a change, it notifies the driver.

What cars are using traffic-sign recognition?

Traffic sign recognition tech is relatively new, first appearing in the BMW 7 Series in 2008. Since then, uptake has been relatively slow. Only safety conscious Volvo has rolled it out across a full range, offering it either as standard or as an optional extra on all their cars.

Below is a list of all the cars I could find that offer traffic sign recognition tech. This list almost certainly isn’t exhaustive so if I’ve missed anything let me know about it in the comments.

  • Audi A8
  • BMW 1 Series
  • BMW 1 Series
  • BMW 3 Series
  • BMW 5 Series
  • BMW 5 Series
  • BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo
  • BMW 7 Series
  • Citroën C3
  • Ford Edge
  • Ford Focus
  • Honda Accord
  • Honda Civic
  • Jaguar F-Pace
  • Kia Sportage
  • Lexus LS
  • Mazda 3
  • Mazda 6
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  • Mercedes-Benz S-Class
  • Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • Nissan Micra
  • Nissan Pulsar
  • Nissan Qashqai
  • Nissan X-Trail
  • Opel/Vauxhall Insignia
  • Renault Espace
  • Renault Kadjar
  • Renault Talisman
  • Toyota Prius
  • Vauxhall Insignia
  • Volkswagen Phaeton
  • Volvo S60
  • Volvo S80
  • Volvo S90
  • Volvo V40
  • Volvo V60
  • Volvo V70
  • Volvo V90
  • Volvo XC40
  • Volvo XC60
  • Volvo XC70
  • Volvo XC90