TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. announced that its latest Lane Keeping Assist technology, incorporating closed loop control, has gone into production for the first time on two vehicle platforms for the European market.
Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) integrates data from a video camera sensor with Electrically Powered Steering (EPS) to apply a short counter-steer torque via the steering system to help assist the driver in preventing the vehicle from unintentionally leaving the lane.
Andy Whydell, product planning, TRW Electronics, commented, "Lane Keeping Assist technology has great potential in helping to improve road safety. According to 2011 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, 53 percent of road fatalities result from a roadway departure, and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) data estimates that lane departure warning and Lane Keeping Assist systems could save more than 7,500 lives in the USA each year."
In conventional LKA systems, the technology is only active when the vehicle is close to the lane borders, at which point the counter-steer torque is applied, helping to correct the driving position. However, with this closed loop version, the steering angle is controlled more closely as the driver is "coached" to steer the vehicle away from the border back to the center of the lane, TRW says. As with all LKA systems, the induced torque generated by the EPS system can be easily over-ridden by the driver at any time.
"This technology is the first step toward a full lane-centering system where the EPS system will help keep the driver in the center of the lane at all times. Such technologies are starting to form the basis for semi-automated driving functionality," Whydell said.