The Crime-Sensing Car

By JR Raphael
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Starting today, the GPS system has a new power: sensing high-crime areas and warning you before you make a potentially dangerous turn.

Honda has just introduced its new SatNav system in Japan.  International news agency AFP reports the system will use information provided by police to mark “crime hotspots,” then sound alerts when a driver is creeping too close to those areas for comfort.

AFP says the system will actually rank neighborhoods by a formulated risk level.  A higher risk level means more past reports of car damage, theft, and break-ins.

The system adds to a list of growing GPS features available only overseas, including the ability to warn you about hidden traffic cameras that could land you tickets at intersections.

But it’s the crime spot sensor that’s stirring up the debate in the States.  Some fear introducing that kind of feature here would open up a can of worms because of the number of historically high-crime areas that are heavily populated by minorities.  Others say there’s nothing wrong with presenting legit police data for drivers to use as they please.  However you look at it, though, one thing’s for sure: This one won’t go over quietly in the U.S.

At the moment, Honda has gone on the record saying there are no plans to offer the feature in America as of yet.