For the 2013 model year, the completely redesigned Ford Fusion will get an available lane departure warning system. The safety feature, usually reserved for luxury vehicles from Mercedes-Benz or Volvo, will help keep drivers aware of lane markings and alert drivers if they're drowsy.
The feature, which Ford calls the Lane Keeping System, uses a camera mounted on the windshield in front of the rearview mirror; it helps record and detect lane markings. Once the car is traveling faster than 40 mph, the steering wheel will vibrate — simulating the feel of going over rumble strips — if you try to change lanes without using a turn signal. If the driver doesn't respond and continues to drift into another lane, the electric power-assisted steering will kick in and slowly steer the car back into its lane, Ford says. (Mercedes' system works in a similar way.) If the driver is actively trying to switch lanes without indicating, the slight tug of the Lane Keeping System can be easily overridden, Ford says.
If the system detects a driving pattern consistent with fatigue, an audible warning and visual alert will advise the driver to pull over and rest. If the driver doesn't heed the warning and continues to drive tired, the system will warn again, but this time more dramatically.
The Lane Keeping System will debut on the 2013 Ford Fusion, which will be unveiled at the 2012 Detroit auto show in two weeks. The Ford Explorer will also get the safety system in 2012. Compared with its midsize sedan competition, this piece of safety technology is pretty sophisticated for the category. Ford will continue to roll out the system across the automaker's lineup during the next couple of years.
We'll have more information on the 2013 Ford Fusion and 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid on Jan 9.