Ford’s not quite ready to show you any advance looks at the next-generation Fusion, but the automaker is boasting that the 2013 Fusion may be one of the least expensive sedans to feature a form of lane departure warning when the new model debuts.
Ford says that it will equip select 2013 Fusion sedans with what it calls Lane Keeping System. The LKS combines a camera mounted behind the rear-view mirror, as well as a computer that can control the electronic power steering rack.
The system monitors a video feed from the windshield camera to detect solid and dotted lines and decide if the car is between them or not. If the car drifts out of a lane or makes an unsignaled lane change, the car will notify the driver with a tone and a flashing light.
The system also can sense if the driver is drowsy or inattentive. If he or she drifts out of the lane slowly, the system will sound an alarm tone, but will also vibrate the steering wheel (which Ford says will feel like running over rumble strips), and then nudge the car back into the lane if the driver doesn’t do anything else. If the car finds that a driver’s patterns show that he or she is drowsy, the information screen will flash a cup of coffee and suggest that the driver take a break.
While Ford claims that this is the first time that this feature set will be offered in the mid-size segment, the Fusion’s features will face stiff competition from another American car company: Chevrolet announced that it will now put Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning on its Malibu and Malibu Eco models. We wouldn’t be surprised if other competitors begin offering similar systems in the years to come.
Both systems have their subtle differences, but seeing as both come with high praise from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as critical safety features, a new segment of the car-buying market will soon reap the benefits of this technology.