GPS technology shapes a new generation of radar detectors


Radar detectors are getting a lot smarter with a couple of manufacturers now enabling them to share info about speed traps among all users.

Products from Escort and Cobra are using GPS to alert everybody else who uses the same system about what’s going on out there on the road. According to USA Today, the Escort Live device is a $79 cord that goes from the Escort unit to a GPS-enabled smartphone to transmit speed trap data to the network. Meanwhile, Cobra has a similar system that’s available free to iRadar users.

People say I’m encouraging speeding and lawlessness by talking about these kinds of products. But because of budget crunches, the reality is speed traps today are now just all about the money, not about safety. Besides, if you get this information and it causes you to slow down for a few miles, that’s all to the good anyway.

One thing is sure: This will make it tough for police to write as many tickets as they’ve been writing. Shared information benefits everybody as it automatically reveals the location of police speed traps before you’re locked in on their radars.

In related news, I saw a French media report about a walking shoe that is equipped with GPS capability to track the elderly who wander off because they have dementia. The shoes should be available within several months in the United States.

So that’s a similar technology to the radar detectors, but a much different use. What’s coming next is anybody’s guess!

Editor’s note: This segment originally aired Nov. 18, 2011

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