The new Ford Focus has a fantastic Lane Departure Warning System. It works courtesy of a forward-facing video camera mounted behind the rear-view mirror. This monitors the lane markings and alerts the driver if the vehicle wonders off-line. The warning comes via the vibrating steering wheel and is emphasised by an alert on the dashboard's colour screen. This also indicates if the system cannot operate due to poor camera visibility.
The Lane Departure Warning technology works in conjunction with Ford's Lane Keeping Aid System. This takes things a step further. If the vehicle deviates from its course, the new Ford Focus applies torque to its steering wheel. This pulls the car back on track. Furthermore, both these systems can distinguish between intentional and accidental manoeuvres. Simply indicate to avoid warnings and interventions. Sounds good to me.
Numerous avoidable incidents are caused every year by motorists wondering off-line - often because of fatigue or lack of concentration. This is particularly common on long motorway journeys. The Lane Departure Warning System and the Lane Keeping Aid help minimise the risk. Clearly, these are worthwhile additions to Ford's impressive workhorse. They do pose an interesting question though. How long before cars drive themselves?