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Lane-keeping technology aims to keep cars on the road

You may have heard of new technology in the last few years that allows motorists to have a little assistance from their cars while they parallel park. There’s also new technology that aims to keep vehicles from drifting from lane-to-lane. It’s hoped the improved technology can help prevent car accidents caused by drowsy drivers.

Ford is introducing what it calls “lane-keeping technology” as an option for its 2013 models of the Explorer and the Fusion. While it is not officially green-lit by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are other companies that use similar technology.

Toyota, for example, uses a system called “lane keep assist.” Similar language is used in systems for Lexus and Mercedes.

This is how Ford’s technology works: A camera is attached to the rear-view mirror. When a driver surpasses 40 mph with the system switched on, the camera tracks road markings to determine whether the driver is veering out of the lane. If the driver does, a warning vibration will be sent to the steering wheel. If that is ignored, the car will automatically correct back to the center of the lane.

It’s not a perfect system, however. Some have noted that the cameras might not always work properly if there is heavy precipitation, the sun is at a low angle or there is some other condition to impede the camera’s work. A spokesperson for the NHTSA says that more testing and evaluation is needed before it can be recommended to the public.

What do you think? Is such technology a win-win? Should all cars come equipped with it in the future?

Source: New York Times, “Trying to nudge drowsy drivers,” Randall Stross, Jan. 21, 2012

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