Ford Motor Co. is introducing new lane-keeping technologies, including a system that can help detect drowsy drivers, in early 2012 on the Ford Explorer. The technology’s Driver Alert System monitors the vehicle’s lane position and can notify a driver of signs of inattentiveness with a coffee cup warning light on the dashboard instrument cluster. The Lane Keeping Alert function warns the driver by vibrating the steering wheel and sounding a warning chime, while the Lane Keeping Aid function warns the driver by applying torque at the steering wheel to direct the vehicle back into the lane. The system uses a small forward-facing camera mounted on the windshield behind the rearview mirror, and is able to identify lane markings on both sides of the vehicle. More than 40 percent of Americans say they have fallen asleep or nodded off while driving, said Ford, citing a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

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