During motor vehicle operation, the image processing and pattern recognition of various external visual information to assist human vision is an effective method to improve safety and driving comfort. Research into image processing and pattern recognition, supported by advancing device and computer technology, is entering the age of practical application.Against this background, we have developed a system to visually detect, recognize and transmit to the vehicle operator road signs, which are definable patterns, as the first step in the application of image processing and pattern recognition technology to the automotive sector.The major points of this system are as follow: 1. A color processing system was adopted which reduces the effects of brightness and shadow, and implemented in dedicated hardware. 2. The development of dedicated hardware for template matching enables the real-time extraction and processing of defined patterns within the image.