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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