Lane departure warning systems to become the norm

Technologies that warn drivers when they are about to leave their own lane are set to become mainstream.

February 23, 2011
by Fleet Management staff

LONDON, UK: Outside of Japan, lane departure warning (LDW) systems began to appear on top-of-the-line consumer vehicles around 2005, with automatic steering correction being phased in on some models over the next five years or so.

In 2011, the system will be available on high-volume models such as the Ford Focus and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

According to a recent study by ABI Research by 2016 annual LDW installations are projected to reach over 22 million, with a worldwide market value of more than $14.3 billion.

“Lane departure warning has not enjoyed great commercial success as a standalone application,” says ABI Research principal analyst David Alexander, “but now we are seeing a number of significant new features that can share the core components and add considerable value for the driver. It is this expanded functionality that will drive the market growth.”

One such feature is road sign recognition, which is beginning to appear on selected models, and initially focuses on speed limit signs. Another feature is a type of monitoring system (discussed in a previous ABI Research study) that analyzes whether the driver is weaving within a lane. Also in place on some vehicles is a collision avoidance system that integrates camera image analysis with radar data for greater accuracy.

“Another new feature coming to the automotive market is advanced headlight control,” says NextGen research director Larry Fisher. “All these new features analyze the forward-looking camera images from a single sensor, so it will make sense at some point to make the sensor a standard feature of all vehicles in a model range.”

The standard camera sensor idea would start with high-end vehicles, but as component costs come down with volume and production efficiencies, it will make sense to introduce this concept across all models. Careful system design will allow the installation of new features via software upgrades so that OEMs can offer an alternative to the aftermarket, and build customer relationships.