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Evolution of Lane Keep Assist in the Automotive Industry

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If you are familiar with the automotive industry, the chances are that you have heard of lane keep assist. It is a safety feature that’s becoming increasingly popular with time. Commonly known as LKA, it is available in most modern vehicles. But this advanced driving assistance system was not always like today’s interpretation.

In fact, the LKA in the earlier cars worked pretty differently. This guide will discuss the evolution of lane keep assist cars and how they have changed from their origins. Furthermore, we will explore what the future holds for this safety feature. Without any further ado, let’s get started!

evolution-of-lane-keep-assist

Origin of Lane Keep Assist

The first practical application of lane keep assist can be traced back to 2000. However, let’s go a little far beyond that. LKA systems were designed with the influence of lane departure warning systems. LDW’s first patent goes back to 1989 by Nick Parish in England.

history-of-lane-keep-assist

Mercedes Actros Commercial was the first company to develop a lane departure warning system in 2000. However, its first production was only limited to Europe, even though an American manufacturer developed it.

The American market saw the rise of lane departure warning in 2002. First, the system was only designed for trucks and commercial vehicles. Soon after, LDW integration in cars and SUVs became a norm. Even today, the system comes built in most modern vehicle releases.

The success of LDW in the automotive industry became a stepping stone for lane keep assist systems. LKA became popular in the mid-to-late 2000s with a continued success rate even to this day. While LKA systems differ from LDW, they are often interchanged in car releases.

That said, let’s look at the pioneer companies that first utilized LKA systems, making them more popular:

  • Honda: One can say that Honda is the pioneer of lane keep assist systems, making their debut on the 2003 Inspire Model. This system consisted of a single camera on the windshield, monitoring the lane only in a 40-degree radius.
  • Lexus: Lexus further improved on the Honda’s LKA system in its 2006 release, LS 460. This time, the system used multiple cameras combined with pattern-recognition processors. Furthermore, it had a radar cruise control feature, activating if the driver fails to make the right decision at the right time.
  • Mercedez-Benz: In 2009, Mercedez-Benz released its new E-class model with LKA feature. It didn’t utilize audio or visual alerts to warn the driver. Instead, it used vibrations via the steering wheel. Plus, this variation also had automatic braking assist as the last resort for safety.

Many other automobile manufacturers soon took this idea and developed their own systems. Some other honorable mentions include Audi, Toyota, Kia Motors, and Nissan Motors.

Lane Keep Assist in the Modern Driving Industry

Lane keep assist drastically differs from its earlier original counterparts. But, let’s look at its modern framework to provide a clearer picture:

modern-lane-keep-assist-systems

Camera/Sensors

Cameras or sensors are the heavy-lifters in LKA systems. They monitor the lanes to ensure the driver is in their respective lane. Generally, these cameras and sensors utilize intelligent algorithms. They are built with pattern processors, monitoring the lane markings and ensuring drivers don’t go to other sides.

Many camera-based systems may also offer a display option. Usually, they might come with their own screen or integrate with the vehicle’s infotainment system. Either way, the real-time video coverage helps make well-informed decisions on the road.

Alert Mechanisms

LKA systems use different alert systems to notify the driver. Normally, the alert triggers when the driver is going off the lane. The alarm can be of several types, ranging from audible and visual to hybrid.

Many systems also use vibrations to alert the driver. It could be via steering wheel vibrations or slight movement of the driver seat. The purpose is to ensure that the driver stays updated on their position on the road.

Automated Features

Most modern LKA systems also have automated features, like braking assist. Generally, it is the last resort because it takes control from the driver. The automatic brake ensures safety from potential collisions, possible when changing lanes.

Another common feature is automatic lane centering. It allows the car to adjust its position without the driver’s interference back to the center of the lane. Cruise control and parking assist are also becoming increasingly popular in advanced LKA systems.

Combination Systems

Most drivers used to consider LKA as a secondary safety feature in cars. However, its modern interpretation has made it a primary driving assistant. That’s because it comes with advanced features combined with integrated safety systems.

The most common example would be lane keep assist with lane departure warning. These systems are standard in modern vehicles, especially in well-known cars like Audi, Tesla, and Honda.

Future Predictions for Lane Keep Assist Systems

Lane keep assist systems seem to have a bright future in the automotive industry. Their integration with other technology makes them more versatile and modernizable.

future-predictions-for-lane-keep-assist

That said, let’s look at what the future holds for our current LKA systems:

1. Autonomous Cars

Today, LKA makes cars self-autonomous with features like automated braking assist and cruise control. However, it wouldn’t end here. The system is likely to have more automated features.

Why is that? Firstly, because modern cars have various autonomous features, requiring minimum human interference. This factor calls for modernization in the LKA system, adding features like automated lane centering. This way, the user wouldn’t need to act on the alerts. Instead, the system will adjust the vehicle’s position automatically.

2. AI-Driven Processors

Currently, the LKA system does utilize AI to some extent. However, it is not as dominant in its pattern-processing as the future predicts.

Manufacturers are aiming for AI-driven sensor processing. That coud lead to even more accurate readings of the road. Furthermore, it would allow the system to work properly on road without any markings.

3. Low-Light Driving Conditions

What if your car’s lights are not working correctly? Or, what if the road has no proper lighting, allowing your LKA cameras and sensors to work incorrectly?

These are the questions manufacturers are looking to solve with advanced LKA systems. The aim is to eliminate low-light driving threats. That is by equipping cameras and sensors with night-time detection. As you may have guessed, it will also automatically turn on, detecting the dark environment.

4. Integration with Other Technologies

Lastly, LKA is going to become more versatile than today. That means it could come integrated with advanced driving assistance systems like blind spot monitoring or forward collision warning. The aim is to provide a one-stop safety solution for drivers.

Different Variations Of Lane Keep Assist

People often confuse lane keep assist with lane departure warning and other similar systems. Let’s look at the similarities and differences in these systems:

1. Lane Departure Warning

LDW is another common safety feature and was also the blueprint for LKA and other systems. However, it is not as intrusive as LKA because it doesn’t trigger automated controls, like braking, adaptive control, etc. Instead, it only sends alerts to the driver.

Modern LDW systems might have some automated features, like parking assist. However, they are not largely as advanced as an LKA system.

2. Lane Centering Assist

Lane centering assist is pretty much similar to a lane keep assist system. It works by keeping the vehicle at the center. One difference is that most LCA systems utilize cameras rather than sensors. These cameras detect the road boundaries, ensuring the vehicle doesn’t go off.

Despite the differences, LCA also has automated features like LKA. It may include adaptive cruise control (ACC).

Which Lane Assist System Should You Buy?

The variety of lane assist systems can often confuse new buyers. Since they might not know much about these safety features, they can pick the wrong option. Here’s how to know which system suits you!

Autonomous

Are you looking for a system that automatically performs its functions and requires minimal input from you? Then, consider going for an advanced lane keep assist. Its modern aftermarket and factory-installed variations require minimum effort from your end. Mostly, they handle everything on their own.

Semi-Autonomous

Some people don’t like giving complete control to the vehicle. That is when a lane centering assist, or LCA, can come in handy. It has few automated features but not as many as an LKA. Furthermore, LCA systems often come with cameras and display screens. It is better for drivers who like to keep their watch on the road via the screen.

Manual to Low-Autonomous

Do you want to have complete control over your vehicle? Then, go for a lane departure warning. This system will trigger alerts, notifying you of a potential threat. However, it’s your job to tackle that situation manually. It can have minimum autonomous features like parking assist, but even that doesn’t take away your control from the car.

OYI company's factory area

Conclusion

Lane keep assist is an evergreen advanced driving assistance system. Its history and evolution is an excellent example of a successful safety feature in vehicles. Not only that, but its future predicts an even more significant change. Its variations can also be useful for people with different driving habits.

Putting that aside, buying an LKA system can be a hassle, especially aftermarket. You have plenty of manufacturers to look through. Consider buying from OYI Electronic for the affordable factory prices, tested-products, and afersales support!

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