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Brilliant GPS navigation system changes to children's voice near schools

Technically Incorrect: A new safety feature installed in some GPS navigation setups tries to use an inventive way to get drivers to be extra careful where there are kids.

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Can a child's voice save a child's life? If Skadeförsäkring/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

We often drive unconsciously.

Our minds drift as our hand-eye coordination pilots our cars automatically.

Until, sometimes, it's too late.

So a Scandinavian insurance company -- the confidently named If Insurance -- came up with an idea that seems blissfully simple, yet potentially very effective.


It's a GPS navigation system with a tiny difference. Whenever you're driving near schools, day care centers or anywhere where there might be children, the system's voice switches to that of a child.

In a YouTube demonstration of the system, a traffic safety expert says that you can't frighten people into driving more carefully. Instead, as sound expert Julian Treasure explains, because we're programmed to care for children, the sound of their voices alerts us at a visceral level to take more care.

The app became available this month in Sweden, Norway and Finland. However, its sheer ingenuity suggests the car industry should perhaps test it out.

In the US, almost 400 children aged 15 and under are killed by cars every year.

Anything to save one more life. Especially when it's such a brilliantly simple idea.