Ford aims to tackle sleepy drivers
Ford has introduced a new sophisticated Driver Alert safety system designed to prevent drivers falling asleep at the wheel.
Ford’s Driver Alert system comprises of a small forward-facing camera connected to an on-board computer. The camera is mounted on the back of the rear-view mirror and is trained to identify lane markings on both sides of the vehicle.
Although the camera is trained to look for lane markings on both sides of the road it will function if markings on just one side are detected.
The system uses algorithms to study driver performance and determine whether driving shows signs of drowsiness or erratic steering.
If the system identifies the driver as losing concentration, it will warn the driver through a series of noises..
A soft warning will first be issued when it detects “sleepy" driving, if the driver continues to demonstrate this behaviour a hard warning will appear in the instrument cluster which the driver must acknowledge by pressing an OK button.
If the hard waning is ignored, the system can only be reset by stopping the car and opening the driver’s door. This way the system will recognise that the driver has had a rest.
However, It is also possible to switch off the Alert System via the instrument cluster.
The system is clever enough to detect intentional movements off lane markings, for example if the driver is overtaking.
Driver Alert is now available on four models in Ford’s range, including the new for 2011 Ford Focus, the Ford Mondeo, plus the S-Max and Galaxy.
With as many as one in five serious motorway accidents being caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel, the engineers at Ford believe this to be one of the most important pieces of software drivers could acquire.