Drowsy Drivers Wake Up with New Ford Explorer Technology
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has released alarming results from a survey it conducted, in which 40 percent of Americans have reported falling asleep or nodding off behind the wheel. In an effort to try and make this number go down, Ford is incorporating new lane keeping technologies in the Explorer.
Customers who opt for the Lane Keeping System in their new Fords will have three features at hand to help them stay alert and in control of the vehicle. One is the Driver Alert System, which suggests drivers take a break. Drowsiness is detected by a little camera behind the rear view mirror that faces forward and identifies lane markings on the road ahead. It predicts where the vehicle should be positioned, and if it senses the driver starts to leave the lane, a coffee cup light on the dashboard will illuminate and a chime will sound.
"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 Alert takes it a step further by sending a vibration through the steering wheel when the system detects the vehicle starts to drift too close to the lane markings. Enhancing the system even more is Lane Keeping Aid, which provides steering torque to alert the driver by using the front camera and other sensors in the vehicle to determine distance to lane markings and curve radius. Lane Keeping Alert and Lane Keeping Aid can be used in conjunction.
The system must also be turned on by the driver, but the features shut off whenever the driver door is opened or shuts off the engine, and sensitivity settings can be adjusted between normal and increased. These new features will start debuting in Explorers in early 2012.