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Lane Change Assist: What Is It and Do You Even Need It?

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Driving a car in today’s traffic is no easy task. An average of 1.17 million deaths occur due to road accidents. The alarming thing is that this number doesn’t involve the injured people. A road crash usually involves multiple parties, including drivers and pedestrians. Most of these traffic collisions occur when a car is changing its lane.

The automotive industry has identified this problem and developed a solution known as lane change assist. But what is it? How does it work? More importantly, do you even need it? Let’s answer these questions and more in this detailed guide!

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What is Lane Change Assist?

Lane change assist helps a driver make the right decisions when changing lanes. It detects nearby vehicles and informs the driver of a potential danger. Also known as LCA, it is an advanced driving assistance system.

LCA works with sensors or cameras to monitor a vehicle’s vicinity. If a car approaches in adjacent lanes, it notifies the driver by triggering an alert. Its primary purpose is to keep the car safe when changing lanes.

The detection of a lane change assist can vary depending on the system’s capability. However, it can monitor the adjacent lanes, as they are often involved in causing road crashes.

Brief History of LCA

Although LCA is pretty popular today, people don’t realize it has been around for a while. The first working model of LCA was developed in 1988 by Nick Parish, a well-known British inventor. Its earliest application was in Rover SD1, and it became popular as the “lane departure warning system.”

The US also realized the importance and utility of LCA. As a result, they started the production of lane change assist, with Mercedes Actros being the first US company to adopt this system.

While it was originally developed for cars, it quickly became applicable to other vehicles. Semi-trucks also started utilizing this system, especially in North America, in 2002. Today, it is available for almost every vehicle, including cars, SUVs, trucks, buses, and emergency transports.

You might have heard of the lane change assist KIA. However, KIA was not even one of the first five companies to adopt this system. The earliest 5 car manufacturers for LCA were:

  • Mercedes
  • Audi
  • Nissan
  • Lexus
  • Citroen

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Key Features of Lane Change Assist

Modern LCA systems differ drastically from their earlier counterparts. However, some features are still common among lane change assist, regardless of their model. Let’s look at those features one by one:

1. Monitoring Adjacent Lanes

The primary function of a lane change assist is to monitor your vicinity. But how does it do that? Generally, there are two approaches.

A system can have a set of cameras installed outside the car to monitor any approaching vehicle. In these models, you also get a display screen. It can provide real-time footage of parallel lanes, enabling you to make the right moves.

Alternatively, some systems use sensors to detect oncoming vehicles. These models don’t require a monitor and your attention on the screen. Instead, they use an alert system to trigger notifications. These alerts can be visual or audible, but hybrid systems are also pretty popular.

2. Detection & Calculation

Generally, sensor-based systems have intelligent algorithms to detect approaching vehicles. They can calculate a vehicle’s speed, distance, and displacement. As a result, these models can predict a potential collision with those cars. So, they give you an alert to stop it from happening.

Another benefit is that they can also tell when the road’s clear. No alerts mean you can change lanes or turn without any worries about colliding.

3. Blind Spot Monitoring

You might have heard of blind spot monitoring systems or BSM. They are also integrated into an LCA for added protection. What do they do? Basically, they monitor the unclear or downright invisible areas in the sideview mirrors. Also known as danger or no zones, these spots exist in every vehicle.

A lane change assist system can monitor a vehicle’s blind spots and provide real-time updates via its alert system. This way, the driver can stay updated about their and adjacent lanes.

4. Automation Levels

Almost every LCA system, especially the modern ones, has some degree of automation. For example, the advanced lane change assist Toyota comes with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). It can automatically hit the brakes or adjust the car’s speed after identifying a potential collision.

Do You Need a Lane Change Assist System?

A lane change assist can be highly effective as an advanced driving assistance system. But the question still remains: do you need it? Let’s look at the following reasons for a detailed answer:

  • LCA can prevent crashes and collisions that would otherwise have devastating impacts.
  • Today, the roads are more crowded than ever. With the increasing traffic, the risk of accidents has also increased. Thus, this system can be an effective measure of safety.
  • The governments of different countries, like the US and Italy, are taking steps to promote advanced driving assistance systems, like LCA.
  • You can be very vulnerable when changing lanes as you don’t have a clear view. This system can provide real-time detection and alerts to let you know when it’s the right time to change lanes.
  • It comes with additional features like automated braking, improving its protective measures and making it a cost-effective system.

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Can You Get Lane Change Assist for “Any” Car?

First, you must understand the two main types of advanced driving assistance systems. You have factory-installed models, which come pre-installed in a car. Then, you have aftermarket models that can be retrofitted in any vehicle. Lane change assist is no exception.

LCA is available in both factory-installed and aftermarket models. Let’s look at both to provide a clearer picture:

Factory-Installed LCA

These systems are built in a car by the manufacturer. They are tailored-fit to meet the requirements of that specific car model. For instance, the lane change assist KIA comes pre-integrated in KIA cars. It can not be added or removed afterward.

These systems offer increased accuracy than an aftermarket system. Their repairs and maintenance can only be handled by a manufacturer’s representative.

Aftermarket LCA

An aftermarket LCA can be retrofitted in any vehicle. Note that modern LCA systems are suitable for cars, trucks, buses, and SUVs. Typically, these models are universal, making them installable in any car, regardless of its brand, model, release year, etc.

An aftermarket LCA may also have additional features, like BSM and FCW (Forward Collision Warning). However, its detection range and accuracy might not be as good as a factory-installed system. It makes up for that with its more accessible repairs and spare parts.

For an aftermarket LCA, you will need to look for ADAS manufacturers, like OYI Electronic, instead of car companies.

Alternatives to Lane Change Assist

While lane change assist is effective, it typically comes packaged with some other advanced driving assistance system. So, let’s look at some of its alternatives that can also add a much-needed safety layer to your vehicle.

1. Blind Spot Monitor

A BSM is one of the most effective and popular advanced driving assistance systems. While most LCA models have blind spot monitoring, buying a detection system can be more helpful. It has more protective and smart features, like collision avoidance, automated braking, and parking assist. The best part is that BSM systems are widely available in aftermarket models.

2. Lane Keeping Assist

The LCA’s basic premise is to aid when changing lanes. This system has the opposite function, keeping the driver in the lane. Also known as LKA, this device detects and reads road markings. It helps the driver keep their car centered to prevent sudden collisions with nearby vehicles in adjacent lanes.

Its modern variation is called Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS). As you may have guessed, the car doesn’t require human interference to stay centered.

3. Lane Departure Warning System

The lane departure warning system alerts the driver when the vehicle leaves the lane. It is a common variation of the lane change assist. However, the original device created in 1988 became the primary influence for LCA. LDW works pretty much the same as LCA with a visual, audible, or hybrid alert system and a set of sensors.

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Conclusion

Hopefully, now you know what is the lane change assist and its primary features. To conclude, this advanced driving assistance system is a MUST-have in today’s traffic conditions. The number of vehicles and road crashes is increasing exponentially every year. It has created a global panic, causing governments of various countries to take action. Thus, right now is the perfect time to equip your car with an ADAS like LCA.

Remember that you will find many manufacturers for aftermarket LCA. However, choosing a company that offers a decent warranty, affordable prices, and durable products is crucial. And those are precisely the strengths of OYI Electronic!OYI company's factory area

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