updated 07:05 pm EDT, Thu October 27, 2011
Warns driver with audio, visual and physical signs
Ford today has announced new lane keeping technology to warn a driver when their car is inadvertently wandering out of its traffic lane. It relies primarily on a camera mounted behind the rear view mirror that watches the driver and road. The system then gently alerts the driver through several mechanisms including lights and vibrations.
The camera monitors the vehicle's lane position and watches for any indication of driver inattentiveness, or else if the car drifting out of its lane. The system first alerts the driver by lighting up coffee cup warning light that appears on the dashboard. Its alert function also warns the driver by vibrating the steering wheel and sounding a warning chime. If needed, the technology's Lane Keeping Aid function will apply its own torque at the steering wheel to steer the vehicle back into the lane.
Ford is not the first to offer proactive systems to prevent a car from accidentally drifting into another lane. Peugeot offers its LDWS (Lane Departure Warning System). It uses six bumper mounted infrared sensors to detect when a car is crossing a traffic line. Instead of visual or audio warnings, it warns the driver through vibrators mounted into the driver's seat cushion.
The Ford technology will be first available in Explorer SUVs in early 2012.