2012 Ford ExplorerEnlarge Photo
Proving that technology eventually makes its way into mainstream affordable vehicles, sophisticated safety systems to keep drivers alert and in their lanes are now starting to appear on more and more family vehicles. Here we take a look at Ford’s new Lane Keeping System that debuts early next year on the Explorer.
Ford Explorer: Lane Keeping System
With its recent announcement of the Lane Keeping System that will debut in early 2012 on the Ford Explorer mid-size crossover SUV, Ford becomes the latest automaker to climb aboard this type of safety technology, and the first to offer it in a mainstream vehicle. The system has three features designed to keep drivers in control behind the wheel, including Driver Alert System, Lane Keeping Alert and Lane Keeping Aid.
The system uses a forward-facing camera mounted on the windshield behind the rearview mirror to identify lane markings on both sides of the vehicle. When the vehicle is moving, the system looks ahead at the road and predicts where the vehicle should be relative to lane markings.
The Driver Alert System detects if the driver is drowsy and initiates a first-level chime along with a coffee-cup symbol on the dashboard instrument cluster. If the driver does not respond with corrected driving, another chime and warning appear. All information resets once the driver stops, opens the door or shuts off the engine.
Lane Keeping Alert helps prevent unintentional lane changes by vibrating the steering wheel to direct the driver’s attention to steer back into the correct lane. Lane Keeping Aid then provides steering torque to alert the driver of the need to steer back toward the center of the lane. Ford says the driver can override Lane Keeping Alert at any time through hard braking, fast acceleration or counter steering.
Confused? Don’t be. The system is designed to be intuitive and less intrusive. Put simply, if you’re drowsy and drifting out of the lane, you’ll hear chimes, see a warning symbol, the steering wheel will vibrate and additional torque will be available to steer back into your lane.
According to a survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 40 percent of those surveyed said they had nodded off or fallen asleep while driving. With the Lane Keeping System, those precious few seconds may be just enough to avert a crash and potential injury or fatalities.
Check out the video below to see how the Lane Keeping System works.