GPS Determines Car's Speed Limit

nissan gt-r

In Japan the new Nissan GT-R is speed-limited by its location. As Motor Trend explains:

Japanese GT-Rs are speed-limited for the street: As has been widely reported, unless it’s driven on a preapproved racetrack, a stock Japanese-spec GT-R is limited to 180 kph (111.8 mph) with the factory settings. GPS sensors in the navigation system track vehicle position and communicate with the ECU. Try to exceed 180 kph, and a warning light will appear on the instrument panel. Only shutting the car off and restarting it will get the light to disappear.

But can be run all-out at the track: Running a GT-R at the track requires scrolling through menus in the on-board computer and selecting the racetrack option that bypasses the speed limiter. Only then can the car be run to its full potential.

This is really interesting to see. I wonder how soon til the speed-limiter is hacked. I also wonder if Nissan is going to add expansion race tracks — making the car more like a video game. I wonder if there are insurance savings. It reminds me of the UK’s Norwich “Pay as you drive” Car Insurance, which bills you based on your driving as determined by a GPS. GPSs are not accurate enough to drive by yet (you’d need sub-meter accuracy to do that), but it is really interesting to track how location determines law (or rates) and how the GPS is becoming the arbiter of that.

(Thanks for the tip, Niall!)

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  • Scott

    This prompts the question…
    Is Nissan belittling its super-car buyers by implying they aren’t responsible enough to control their driving behaviour on public roads?
    A bit of a slap in the face to their customers in my opinion. Depending on how easy it is to de-restrict the car, and the warranty implications thereof, could we see sales of Nissan’s premier performance car met with deliberation?

  • I don’t want to be regulated how fast i can drive. My 18 year old car is able to drive faster ;)
    What happens if the GPS data are invalid and the car thinks you are driving faster than allowed? Will it perform a brake?

  • One way around this might be to shield the GPS. The car shouldn’t brake just because there’s no signal — after all, what would happen in a tunnel or parking garage?

  • A maximum limited speed of over 100mph isn’t too bad, and at least it’s preferable to limiting cars to the speed limit in all situations, and through all the gears.

    Sadly, GPS technology means that automatic limiting is inevitable, despite the fact that it won’t remove all accidents, and will just lead to worse driving.

    I’ll stick to older cars, and actually concentrating on how I drive

  • jo

    I like the idea of requiring local authorities to have interactive signs like those ones that smile and frown at you. I can’t see why the speed limit sign can’t communicate with my GPS and warn me if I am over the limit,

    This is just as a newbie on British roads which can have as many as 10 signs per hundred metres. I want the guys who put them up to be responsible for communicating (or taking them down) and it will cost very little extra to have receiving devices within a vehicle.

  • I’ve thought about speed-limiting systems like this, and I wonder what will happen the first time someone gets into an accident or has their car damaged or is injured in a situation where the car prevented them from speeding up and getting out of harm’s way.

    I’m thinking great big stinkin’ lawsuit, but then I do live in America.

  • While this is a GPS-focused discussion, you might want to be aware that Norwich’s over-elaborate GPS-based auto insurance pricing system is less an innovation than a new gimmick for the same old black-box insurance pricing systems. The odometer-mile class rates charged in the system developed by the NOW Insurance Project allows the car owner buy miles in advance like gasoline and top up as needed when the odometer limit of insured miles nears. No fancy reporting system needed. If the car is driven over the mile purchase limit, it’s not insured. For answers to all those “yeah, but…” questions, go to To hear it from a Texas start-up company using odometer-mile pricing, go to and click on the blog to see a video. Remember – every mile driven transfers risk to the insurer and that is measured by the odometer. With NOW’s CPM system, you pay only for the insurance protection you use.

  • Apologies for duplicate posts. The Captcha verification system repeatedly called for reentering the words to let the post go through.

  • F150Style

    Not interested in such teck, all it will do is strip every citizen of rights they enjoy now, the legal implications of being tracked where ever you are on this earth you mine as well put old cold war days back with russia and china herding their people in line, telling them what they will be when they grow up, and the list goes on. Your personal freedom is at stake here, don’t be fooled into thinking this a good thing.

  • AE804

    Ok, so honestly I was in an accident earlier that this would have helped out a lot. In April 2008, I was about to graduate from college and pick up a possition where I’d be making quite a bit of money. I went out and bought a new car.
    Of course the story wouldn’t be a story if I didn’t tell you how that worked out.
    I bought the car (Infinity G35) and was celebrating with the vehicle. Needless to say that my buddy was in the car and I bet (don’t remember but I bet) that he was incourageing me to go faster. I lost controll and ran off the road, right into a tree. Nicholas never had the chance to graduate from Rose-Hulman. I woke up out of my daise, thinking that I needed to get a new car. I woke up late May 2008 and didn’t remember anything since we left Chicago with my new car (and even with that I forced myself to remember it later).
    Honestly, I would pay anything to have Nicholas back, but I’m sure that he’s in Heaven and probably helped me get out of my coma successfully.
    Well, I hope that this little story is able to keep some of you from speeding. I know that Nick Hogan was in a car accident and his friend was still alive but severly dammaged. I mean, I’m 24 and He’s probably like 25ish but still. It’s definately a good Idea. Weather you like it or not.