2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Lane departure assist

2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Lane departure assist

Ford is doing some amazing things with technology these days. I was able to visit their proving grounds in Detroit in December, and got a sneak peak at self-driving cars and futuristic collision avoidance technology.

While many of the features we previewed are something from the future, there are some items that are available on current models that are pretty darn cool. One such feature was on the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid car du jour: the Lane Keeping System.

You've probably heard about the lane departure warning systems in various cars that beep furiously when you cross a lane line. While this is a nice little wake-up call, I find Ford's system more functional. Through cameras and radar, it picks up the lane lines and shows on your behind-the-wheel gauges if you are satisfactorily between them. If so, both lines are green. If you edge too close to one or another of the lines, it turns red. If you don't change your trajectory on your own, the car gets involved with a little jiggle to the steering wheel, which bumps you back in place.

What I like about this system is that it's geared toward keeping the driver -- and only the driver -- in line. If he messes up, he gets the message silently -- not everyone else in the car, who may be sleeping.

For sneak peak at something I hope will be available in the near future, check out the video of the advanced rear collision avoidance below. We were driving at about 30 miles an hour toward the inflated obstacle, and using radar and cameras, the vehicle was able to sense the obstacle and actively took control of the car to steer around it.

It's pretty cool in theory, but do you really want to give up control while driving? Comment below, and tell me what you think. Are you for or against the autonomous car?
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  • That debate has been going on in Car and Driver, which has not yet changed its name to Robot and Captive. On the other hand, if they keep shrinking the greenhouse on the car, we'll need it.

    However, I wonder what it would do this winter with 3 inches of slush on the road, or heading you into the nearest pothole (especially since it appears that the potholes are most developed where the wheels usually meet the asphalt, and it becomes necessary to straddle the line to avoid a blowout).

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