Staying safe and staying between the lines

If you ever had an elementary school teacher tell you to “stay between the lines” in art class then you are going to experience deja vu when you hear about this new automotive technology. The engineers at Lincoln have designed a technology to make your car “stay between the lines”, or driving lanes in this case.

In this article we will look at Lincoln’s new Lane Keeping System which is a combination of three interacting technologies: the Driver Alert System, Lane Keeping Alert and Lane Keeping Aid. Let’s take a look at all three and see how they work together to keep your car between the lines.

The first part of the Lane Keeping System is the Driver Alert System (DAS). It is basically a “drowsiness detector” and senses if a driver drifts out of his/her lane when driving. The way it works is that a small forward-facing camera mounted behind the rearview mirror senses the position of lane markings on the road and looks for any slow drift in the cars motion. If the system detects any movement that fits the pattern of driver drowsiness, a small red coffee cup icon illuminates on the dash and a soft chime sounds. This is a gentle indicator to alert the driver that it might be a good idea to pull over, take a break and perhaps get a cup of coffee. If the driver continues to drive and still seems fatigued, then another warning chime is issued. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than 40 percent of Americans say they have fallen asleep or nodded off while driving at some point so you can see how valuable this technology can be.

The second part of the Lane Keeping System is the Lane Keeping Alert (LKA) system and it 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. This vibration can be compared to the feeling that one feels when an automobile runs over highway “rumble strips”. The LKA system allows the driver enough time to react and steer the vehicle back into its lane. To calculate the proper lane position, the LKA also uses data from the front camera on the windshield in addition.

The last part of the Lane Keeping System is the Lane Keeping Aid System (editor’s note: too many acronyms!) which takes these previous two technologies even further by providing actual steering assist to allow the driver to steer back toward the center of the lane. Essentially the car gives the driver a steering correction to steer back to where the car should normally be. The system calculates the amount of steering correction required based on factors such as the distance to the lane markings, yaw angle and curve radius determined from the front camera and other positional sensors in the car.

It should be noted that the sensitivity of the three system settings can be adjusted between “normal” and “increased”, which moves the warning zones in closer to the center of the lane. The intensity of the steering wheel vibrations can be adjusted as well between low, medium and high. The last-known setting for each selection is stored in memory so it does not have to be set each time the system is activated.

Think you would like to own a Lincoln with this cutting-edge lane keeping technology?  If you live in Pennsylvania, you can almost certainly get a car loan at Reedman Toll Lincoln. Elsewhere in the country, visit your local Lincoln Automobile Dealer!