Test: traffic sign recognition systems image

From 2010, a series of automakers had introduced a technology that can actually recognize the traffic signs.

The idea is to improve road safety by assisting the driver. It may happen that the driver is tired or misses the road sign. This feature will recognize the road sign and accordingly inform the driver to go slow or take a turn.

The ADAC tested the systems currently available in BMW 7 Series, Mercedes S Class, Audi A8, Opel Insignia and VW Phaeton. They showed, in principle, be quite helpful – even if one can not rely completely on them. The “detection rates” of trial participants varied quite considerably.

The overall result: three automakers were rated as “good” and two “satisfactory”.

The BMW 740d succeed a total score of 1.7 – best of the best. Both in the recognition performance and with the presentation in the head-up display, the system achieves excellence.
On the second place comes the Mercedes S 500 CGI. The assistance system in the Audi A8 was ranked on the third place

With the exception of Opel, all systems uses a combination of cameras and maps to detect speed-limit signs. Data are “seen” by the cameras and then matched with navigation-system maps. The Opel system relies completely on the vehicle’s cameras.
Opel’s technology goes beyond just speed-limit signs and also recognizes no-passing signs. VW has promised to have this feature as well shortly.

The ADAC tested both recognition and display. All systems had problems with variable speed-limit signs that are increasingly used on major highways . The LED technology used in these signs is difficult to recognize for onboard cameras.