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This paper deals with the extraction of part of the visual information presented in streets, roads, and motorways. This information, provided by either traffic or road signs and route-guidance signs, is extremely important for safe and successful driving. An automatic system that is capable of extracting and identifying these signs automatically would help human drivers enormously; navigation would be easier and would allow him or her to concentrate on driving the vehicle. The system would indicate to the driver the presence of a sign in advance, so that some incorrect human decisions could be avoided. A deformable model scheme allows us to include the knowledge used while designing the signs in the algorithm and is used for their detection and identification. Two techniques to find the minimum in the energy function are shown: simulated annealing and genetic algorithms. Some problems are addressed, such as uncontrolled lighting conditions; occlusions; and variations in shape, size, and color.