The Ford Motor Company is developing a Lane Keeping technology that will be launched next year with the Ford Explorer. The technology features the Lane Keeping Aid, the Lane Keeping Alert and the Driver Alert System.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has conducted a survey that reveals that over 40% of Americans have nodded off or fallen asleep behind the wheel.
The Driver AlertSystem has been designed to detect sleepy drivers and helps them maintain the vehicle in its lane by notifying the driver with coffee break notifications. Once an inconsistent or unsafe drive pattern is detected, the system issues a warning chime sound with a coffee cup warning, recommending a driving break. If the driver does not respond, the system issues other warning alerts. All the information and warnings automatically reset once the driver opens the door, shuts off the engine or comes to a stop.
The Lane Keeping Alert communicates with the drowsy driver by emitting a warning chime and making the steering wheel vibrate while the Lane Keeping Aid applies torque to steer the vehicle back into its lane. The system determines the amount of torque to be applied to the steering based on lane markings, curve radius and the yaw angle using various sensors and the windshield camera. By applying more acceleration, hard breaking or by counter steering, the user can override the torque. The Lane Keeping technology uses a forward facing, windshield-mounted camera that is capable of detecting lane markings on either sides of the motor vehicle. When in motion, the camera monitors the road and predicts the vehicles desired position.
The sensitivity of the system can be set by the driver and remains active unless it is turned off by the driver. It can be used round-the-clock.