How Does It Work?
A camera mounted on the windshield just ahead of the rear view mirror detects highway lines at speeds over 40 mph. An indicator on the dash turns green when the system is active and the vehicle is in the lane, and yellow if it starts to veer off course. The lines on the road may not be visible to the system in areas where the markings have worn down, or they've been covered by rain or snow. If this happens, the icon on the dash changes red to warn the driver the system will temporarily be inactive.
The Lane Keeping System Has Three Modes:
Lane Keeping Alert
If veering is detected, the electrically-aided power steering vibrates the steering wheel in pulses designed to resemble the feel of rolling over rumble strips.
Lane Keeping Aid
If the car isn't steered on track by the driver after the alert, the power steering will slowly pull the car back into the lane.
A gauge appears on the dash to depict driver alertness. After repeated veering, the system will light up a coffee cup symbol on the dash and sound a chime.
The system is temporarily deactivated when the turn signals are in use, letting the driver turn or change lanes without the vehicle attempting to return the vehicle to its original position.
The system has three settings for the intensity of the warning vibrations, as well as two settings for the amount of assist used to keep the car inside the lane. Ford says most people aren't comfortable with having a computer automatically handle driving duties, so the system must be activated manually after the car has been started.
When Will It Be Available?
The Lane Keeping System will first be available as an option on the 2013 Ford Fusion and Explorer as well as their platform mates, the Lincoln MKS and MKZ. The price for this option has yet to be announced.