Maybe you’re looking for another radio station, or yelling at the kids in the back of your minivan, but suddenly, a loud beep-beep grabs your attention. You’ve inadvertently begun to drift across the double yellow line – and your lane departure warning system has sounded a warning.
The technology, which uses an intelligent vision system, has become increasingly common on high-line products from makers like Infiniti, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Some luxury makers, such as Lexus, even allow the system to automatically a car back into its lane.
Now, lane departure warning systems are following the path of other high-tech safety hardware, migrating downward into more mainstream offerings, notes a new study by ABI Research, which predicts that by 2016, lane departure warning technology could be a $14.3 billion line of business.
For 2011, the technology will migrate from models like the big Mercedes S-Class into the maker’s less-expensive C-Class. But Ford will begin offering a lane departure warning system in the decidedly mainstream 2011 Focus.
That fits the maker’s policy, which global marketing chief Jim Farley calls “democratizing technology.”