How the 2013 Lincoln MKZ drives itself
[B]I’m not exaggerating. With very little fanfare, Lincoln now produces what might fairly be considered the first autonomous car.[/B
I know GM was talking about self-driving Cadillacs by "mid decade", but they are beaten to the punch. I wonder if GM's system will use the steering wheel or the ABS. Since GM still doesn't have a self parking car, it will be a bigger leap to use steering vs braking.The MKZ (and its Ford cousin, the Fusion) use a new system called Lane Keeper that literally steers the car down the road. A forward-looking camera mounted in the windshield mirror assembly reads lane markings and, if it determines you’re about to drift out of your lane, steers the car back toward the center of the lane. Other companies offer conceptually similar systems that attempt to do the same thing by dragging the brakes on one side of the car, but the Lincoln system is hugely more effective. You start to drift out of your lane, even going around a corner, and the steering wheel magically cranks over and points you back toward the centerline.
The MKZ also has adaptive cruise control that uses long-range forward radar to lock on the car in front of you and match its speed. So with cruise control activated, the MKZ is scanning the road for obstacles and braking if necessary, while Lane Keeper steers. Sure, the steering corrections are a little bit clumsy, but that comes down to programming—the system doesn’t step in until you’re heading out of your lane, but it wouldn’t take much tinkering to just keep you in the center of your lane in the first place.