Artificial Intelligence Behind the Wheel: Sygic Becomes the First GPS Navigation to Detect Traffic Signs

23. 11. 2021

Sygic, the developer of the world's most downloaded offline GPS navigation, has announced the launch of Sign recognition – a new feature that uses a smartphone camera to recognise speed limits from traffic signs and LED screens and show the current maximum allowed speed in the app.

With Sign recognition, Sygic is hoping to enrich its already available Speed Limits functionality. GPS navigation apps take speed limit information from map data, which is usually updated every couple of months. This approach covers most of the changes to the road network throughout the year, but no navigation, regardless of whether online or offline, can account for temporary restrictions due to road work or dynamic speed limits projected on LED screens. By complementing map data with speed limits scanned by the user's phone, Sygic not only becomes the first-ever GPS navigation app to offer such functionality but also the one with the most accurate speed limit information.

"A part of Sygic's DNA has always been the continuous pursuit of innovation with the goal of making top-tier technology available to the common user. With Sign recognition, we are bringing state-of-the-art automotive technology to consumers’ smartphones", said Lukas Dermek, Head of Product at Sygic.

Sygic has always prided itself in being a tech-forward company, and this is not its first experience with the topic of computer vision. In 2017, the company introduced Real-View Navigation, an augmented reality feature that displays lane guidance and navigation instructions over real-time video footage from the camera.

For the release of this feature, the goal was for the app to always display a speed limit icon that corresponds to the real situation on the road in front of the driver. However, the potential of Sign recognition doesn't end there. In the future, Sygic plans to develop its image recognition technology further and find new uses for it.

"The potential is definitely greater. For starters, we are already working on training the algorithm to recognise various other objects – number plates, pedestrians, traffic lights and so on. Today's roads put an increasing demand on a driver's ability to focus, and we see it as necessary for technology to step in and help ensure driver safety. Image recognition and artificial intelligence can definitely find their uses there, whether in GPS navigation, insurance products, road safety campaigns, you name it," added Lukas Dermek.

Sygic is launching the feature as part of the Black Friday offering and giving it to Android and iOS users with the Premium+ subscription. Existing customers will be able to find the feature in their app within a few days when the next update 20.9.0 rolls out.