- - Thursday, October 27, 2011

DEARBORN, MI - The new Ford Explorer will come with a cup of coffee for customers who opt for an innovative new Lane Keeping System that can warn drivers if it detects they are getting too tired to drive.

Ford will introduce in early 2012 an innovative Lane Keeping System with three unique features designed to help drivers stay in control behind the wheel, including a Driver Alert System that can notify drivers if it detects signs of drowsiness. In this case, a coffee cup light will appear on the dashboard instrument cluster to suggest the driver take a break.

“The Explorer is loaded with new innovations, including this new lane keeping technology that helps drivers stay in control of their vehicle if they drift out of their lane or show signs of drowsiness,” says Raj Nair, vice president, Engineering, Ford Global Product Development.

The system uses a small forward-facing camera mounted on the windshield behind the rearview mirror, and is able to identify lane markings on both sides of the vehicle.

When the vehicle is on the move, the camera looks at the road ahead and predicts where the vehicle should be positioned relative to the lane markings.

“Our engineering teams tested this technology for thousands of miles in many parts of the country to help ensure it performs on a wide range of roads with different lane markings,” said Michael Kane, vehicle engineering supervisor for Driver Assistance Technologies for Ford, who helped develop the technologies.

Lane Keeping System

The Lane Keeping System is designed to help the driver avoid leaving his or her lane unintentionally. This new technology consists of the Driver Alert System, Lane Keeping Alert and Lane Keeping Aid.

Driver Alert System

The Driver Alert System is designed to help alert drowsy drivers by monitoring the vehicle’s movement compared to lane markings that are tracked by a camera mounted on the windshield. If the system detects a driving pattern consistent with a drowsy driver, a first-level chime will sound and a coffee cup warning will appear on the dashboard instrument cluster to recommend the driver take a break.

If the driver does not respond to this alert and the system continues to sense the driver is fatigued, another warning and chime will be issued. Drivers can monitor their condition on the dashboard at any time, even without receiving warnings. If they approach the yellow warning range, they should rest as soon as possible.

All information is reset as soon as the driver stops and either opens the door or turns off the engine. More than 40 percent of Americans say they have fallen asleep or nodded off while driving, according to a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Lane Keeping Alert

The Lane Keeping Alert is designed to help drivers avoid unintentional lane changes. When the system detects the vehicle drifting close to lane markings, it will alert the driver through a vibration in the steering wheel to naturally direct the driver’s attention to where it is required.

This provides the driver with valuable time to react and steer the vehicle back into its lane. To calculate the lane position, Lane Keeping Alert uses data from the front camera on the windshield. A display in the dashboard instrument cluster lets the driver know when the system is operational as not all roads are well-marked.

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