Lane-departure warning systems are being developed to help distracted or drowsy motorists avoid accidents.
Lane-departure warnings include beeps, vibrations
Lane-departure warning systems use sensors, such as cameras or near-range radar, to monitor the lane. The systems determine the direction and position of the vehicle in relation to lane markers. When the technology recognizes that the vehicle is crossing the line without the turn signal being activated, it sends an audio or visual signal to the driver. Some systems cause a vibration of the steering wheel or the driver's seat. Advanced systems automatically steer the vehicle back into the lane. In the future, the system could be extended to help a driver change lanes and avoid collisions with vehicles in a driver's blind spot.
U.S. models with the technology are the Infiniti FX45 and M45. Toyota is equipping some of its models in Japan with it. In Europe, the technology is on the Citroen C4 and C5. General Motors featured the technology on the Cadillac STS SAE 100 concept it showed at the SAE World Congress in April in Detroit. Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler also have been testing lane-departure warning systems.
Challenges include stopping false alarms and getting the system to work properly during some types of bad weather and on roads that are not well marked. Another drawback is price, more than $1,000 in many cases.
Valeo SA has been fastest to market. Its systems are on Citroens, and it supplies a separate system to Infiniti that was developed by Iteris. Aisin Seiki's lane-departure warning system is in the Toyota models. Continental AG, Delphi Corp., Denso Corp., Hella KG Hueck & Co., Robert Bosch GmbH, Siemens VDO Automotive and Visteon Corp. all plan to have their systems in production models before the end of the decade.