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Lane Support Systems Explained

Posted in Motoring Tips

Lane Support Systems Explained

There are three levels of LSS, which are commonly referred to as Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keep Assist (LKA) and Lane Centring Assist (LCA).

LDW - Lane Departure Warning, provides the driver with audible, visual and/or physical warnings when the vehicle starts to drift outside of its lane without an indicator active.

LKA - Lane Keep Assist, goes a step further in this exact situation, applying steering or brake intervention to guide the vehicle back into its lane and away from a possible side-on collision with other vehicles using the adjacent lanes.


LCA applies the same principles but with a focus on centring the vehicle within its lane at all times. In some vehicles, it can also work with blind-spot monitoring (BSM) to autonomously change lanes with, or in some cases without, a tap of the indicator stalk. As such, LCA can enable semi- autonomous driving in together with adaptive cruise control (ACC) with stop and go functionality, but only for a limited amount of time. Usually within about 10 to 30 seconds, the driver is required to put their hands back on the steering wheel, indicating to the vehicle that they are still alive and well.

This requirement is due to the fact that self-driving vehicles remain illegal on most public roads, while the accuracy of LSS cannot always be relied on. In situations where the driver is no longer responsive due to a medical issue, some systems use LSS in conjunction with ACC and BSM to autonomously change lanes and bring the vehicle to a stop in the emergency lane.


The effectiveness of LSS is limited by the visibility of the lane markings. If they are faded, missing, incorrect or covered by debris or snow, it will often not work properly. The systems are also exclusively available on vehicles fitted with electric power steering, which is required alongside video, laser and infrared sensors to support most forms of ADAS.

All of these technologies are designed to assist the driver instead of completely taking over operation of the vehicle. As such, it helps to reduce driver errors commonly caused by distractions, but isn’t the same as autonomous driving.

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