Ford is taking lane-keeping technology to a new level, with lane”less” keeping technology that works on low-light country roads.
Although many roads now have marked lanes and shoulders, there are still a great many, particularly in rural areas, that don’t, making driving on them challenging (and especially so in the dark). It’s no surprise that most road fatalities in Europe happen on rural roads.
“Rural roads can be every bit as challenging for drivers as urban streets – especially for those who may be unfamiliar with their route,” said Rüdiger Kieneke, Ford Driver Assistance and Safety Electronics engineer. “Road Edge Detection helps alleviate one concern to make journeys more comfortable and easier.”
Ford’s Road Edge Detection uses cameras to scan the road ahead (up to 50 metres) and to the side (seven metres), working in connection with Lane-Keeping Aid through an advanced algorithm. The system also uses the vehicle headlights for illumination in darkened conditions.
Noticing a soft shoulder (gravel or grass), it provides gentle steering input to get the vehicle back on the more stable surface. It also works on roads where the markings are obscured by snow or dirt/sand or water.
The system generally works imperceptibly but will send a vibration to the driver’s hands if steering input is needed from the driver. It is standard fitment on Ford Europe’s Focus, Kuga and Puma. It is not known if it will be available on the Ford Escape, which is the North American version of the Kuga, though Ford plans to roll out the technology to other new models.