It’s funny to think how absolutely last-century speeding tickets are. I mean, a person actually has to take a radar gun, or laser gun, aim it at a stationary part of your vehicle like a license plate, and find out how fast you’re going. They then need to follow you and pull you over, just to let you know you were going a little bit faster than the speed limit on this beautiful spring morning with all of your windows open, and not another car on the road.
Ever since I can remember, there’s always been a radar detector or radar system on all of my cars. Some were dash-mounted, but lately it’s all integrated. I have used every system out there — Valentine V1 dash-mounted, custom Valentine V1 meshed with a custom installed K40, and now the Passport 9500ci. There is absolutely no doubt that the Passport 9500ci is the best radar system on the planet.
The 9500ci is highly accurate and it brilliantly blends GPS technology with the latest band detection to seamlessly let you drive without distractions.
Because the model I tested was a custom installed version of the product, I turned to the best of the best at Ai Design in Tuckahoe, NY. Seriously, these guys do work like on a level I have not ever seen anywhere else. They were able to fabricate a 3D-printed part that looked just like the manufacturer’s part, except they modified it to fit the LCD display from the Passport. They then were able to mount the dual radar detector and laser diffusers in the front grill at the perfect height and angle, mount the GPS antenna, speaker, control unit, and rear license plate piece seamlessly. This all is controlled by a custom-fabricated control panel that sits in the ash tray of the car.
For people not that familiar with radar detection, a radar signal normally used to detect your travelling speed is fired at a stationary part of your vehicle, usually your license plate. The radar signal is then back to a police officer’s radar gun and the resulting data is used to calculate your speed.
One of the reasons radar detectors have become so cumbersome, however, is because of false alerts. There are a number of signals that a radar detector will falsely detect as a policeman’s radar gun. Motion-sensing doors at super markets are a good example, businesses with motion-detecting alarm systems can trigger alerts as well. The Passport gets around these false signals by recording where the signal came from relative to your car using GPS, and if the same exact signal is there the next time you drive by the same place, it will automatically mute the alert for you. It’s absolutely brilliant.
GPS also allows the Passport to display known points of interest as you drive, based on a database of tens of thousands of items. These include red light camera locations and known speed traps, among other things.
But at the end of the day, the purpose of a radar detector and radar defense system is to alert you and to block any threats. The custom-installed Passport amazes me every time I drive. It’s infinitely more sensitive than any other system I ever used, often alerting me to a radar signal way beyond what I can see on the road, around corners, and above and below hills. There have even been times where I ended up muting a signal since there was no visible threat in sight, only to later drive by a police car without being alerted since the signal was muted.
There’s of course also radar blocking and laser shifting, which help you to evade radar threats, and to make a long story short, I have not ever been pulled over for going a wee bit over the speed limit since installing the Passport.
But there are genuine uses for a system like the Passport 9500 to make driving safer. By knowing where police are located, drivers actually drive slower and safer knowing that there’s a cop on the road. By knowing where red light cameras are, you’re more aware and you stop at a yellow light instead of trying to beat the red. And by always being alerted to construction zones ahead, you can slow down and drive more carefully in areas where road work is being performed
That’s the real purpose of something like this — not to break the law by driving at unsafe speeds, but to simply have all the information you can about where you’re traveling, so you can drive as intelligently and safely as possible.
The Boy Genius Report is a periodic column written by BGR founder Jonathan S. Geller. It offers insights and opinions on various products, companies and trends across the consumer electronics business and beyond.