Acura dubs the technology LKAS, or Lane Keeping Assistance System. Combined with the Acura’s ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control), the car can almost drive itself. The system is allowed to kick in at speeds between 40 and 90. And it goes a little something like this: As the sensors mounted in the rear view mirror see the lane markings, it will apply torque to the steering wheel in the opposite direction to keep you in your lane.
So I freaked out the first time I tried Adaptive Cruise Control in a Mercedes S-Class. My foot was ready to pounce on the brake pedal in case there were some kind of electronic failure or system crash. Now, I had both my feet ready to counteract the ACC and my hands ready to grab 10 and 2 in case this thing was going to pilot me into a median. But it didn’t. However, Acura knows the technology isn’t 100% ready for primetime yet, and will warn you to put your hands on the wheel if you remove them completely. However, for a few moments I was highly enjoying placing just one finger on the Acura calipers in the center of the wheel, and watching my index finger slightly rotate to the tiller’s movements. If the lane markings are covered by debris, the system can’t work. Also, it was an extremely hot weekend in NY and the system told me the sensor was too hot for a brief period (I guess getting some 60 MPH wind across it cools it down). I also wonder if it has anything to do with the mirage heat-shimmer effect. I have to follow up with a Honda engineer.
But, in the meantime, we are one step closer to the car that drives itself.