Lane changing assist systems in cars- for safety

The automotive industry has come a long way in terms of technology. Since the great leap of innovations that gave us Airbags and ABS or the Stability control system, the technology today has made our cars so safe that there is almost a 63% fall in the fatalities rate, according to an independent test conducted in the UK. Cutting-edge technology has made this possible, and the lane change assist is one of them. As the name suggests, the lane assist system in cars helps a driver to change lanes in a controlled and safe manner. Accidents while changing lanes are caused daily, but with this new Lane Assist feature, that rate has come down very much. Let us understand the technology behind Lane assist through this article-

“Lane Change” by Urban Woodswalker is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

What is the Lane Assist System, and how does it work?

The Lane Keeping Assist is a system that is designed to support the driver, proactively, by keeping the vehicle in the center of the lane over a large speed range. The system controls or assists the lateral control task of the driver. Generally, the system warns the driver by vibrating the steering or making steering adjustments. In high-end cars, the system is linked with adaptive cruise control (ACC) to support both longitudinal and lateral control at the same time. The system is a failsafe and can be easily overruled by the driver at any time, giving him the ultimate authority. The more advanced system is coupled with a blind-spot monitoring system, and speed limit assist. It uses a camera and a host of sensors to monitor the lane.

Tips for using Lane Assist System

As a driver, you have the ultimate responsibility to be aware of your surroundings and the traffic in the nearby lanes. The lane change assist is designed to prevent you from drifting out of your lane. In that case, you’ll see a warning on your dashboard, hear a chime, or the steering wheel will make corrections. This feature relies on painted lane markings to operate properly, if the road surface is bad, then this system will not work at all. The same is the case during bad weather such as heavy snowfall or foggy conditions. The system is just there to assist you or guide you, the main responsibility is still on you. You can anytime override the system by turning the steering wheel if you feel that the system is not responding correctly. 

Are Indian roads suitable for the Lane Assist System? 

The simple answer to the question is that we have not reached there yet. No doubt that our expressways and some highways are well maintained now, with proper white lane markings. But sadly, we cannot say that for 100% of our road infrastructure. On top of that, the road traffic is so unruly and haphazard, that we cannot expect these systems to work properly in our conditions. Several owners of cars like Volvo, which has these systems as standard, are forced to turn off them because it makes the car very confused. We have a long way to cover before we can truly adopt these systems in our cars.

The road ahead for Lane Assist System

The technology has developed by leaps and bounds in the last 15 years or so. These innovations are ultimately aimed to achieve the dream of fully autonomous vehicles. Several car giants like Tesla and Mercedes have already developed technology that can take over almost 90% of the driver’s job. But it has its pitfalls and loopholes. The car owners are relying on them so much that it has caused several unfortunate accidents. And then there is a question of ethics, the artificial intelligence is not there yet and it cannot stimulate ethical thinking like a human being as to what to do during a crisis. The system right now is at best an assist feature and we should not stretch it beyond what it is designed for. 

Conclusion

The Lane Change Assist System is a promising technology and holds a bright future for safer roads. But before that can happen, we have to look at our basic road infrastructure and road driving manners. These systems rely heavily on road signs and road markings, so they have to be in order. Also, they are assistive features at best, we as a driver have the ultimate control over a vehicle, and we should never forget that. 

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