Talking Tech: Driver Assistance Features Offer a Helping Hand

Subtle sensory cues belie a complex interaction of systems in Lane Assist1 and Blind Spot Monitor1 to help you help your car stay in control.

When you lose focus for just a split second when driving, it can lead to an unintentional lane drift. Helping keep you in your lane with your focus on the road is one of the reasons VW designers and engineers created the Driver Assistance1 technologies like available Lane Assist1 and Blind Spot Monitor1.

But here’s what most people don’t realize: That tech is actually a complex human-machine interface. Its ultimate goal is to help you maintain control by giving you prompts as it coalesces feedback from the road around you. Here’s how the two work.

What It’s Doing

Lane Assist1 and Blind Spot Monitor1 use visual and radar feedback to create a “virtual lane” to sense and respond to potential dangers or miscues in the driving experience.

The Tech

The two Driver Assistance1 features rely on different utilities. Lane Assist1 uses a highly developed, advanced camera.

  • It’s forward-facing and located between the windshield and the rear-view mirror. That keeps the camera out of the driver’s line of sight.
  • The camera records and digitizes the road in front of the vehicle.
  • The camera is greyscale; it distinguishes 4,096 tones, compared to the maximum of 120 distinguished by your eyes.

Blind Spot Monitor1, on the other hand, depends on radar sensors located in the rear corners of the vehicle.

The Drive

  • As you drive, when the Lane Assist1 feature is turned on, its camera scans the lane markings ahead of you to “read” the road. Doing that helps it create an internal picture of the lane.
  • The system adjusts its image processing to keep pace with the speed at which you’re driving — up to 25 images per second.
  • The Blind Spot Monitor1 was developed to help “see” in that visual space that is often referred to as the driver’s blind spot. When this feature is turned on, its radar senses when another vehicle might be in your path.

The Human-Machine Interface

  • If Lane Assist1 senses that you’re drifting into another lane without using your turn signal, it will gently countersteer you—a sensory feeling likened to a slight nudge — back into position in your lane.
  • If you try to move into a lane and there’s a car there, Blind Spot Monitor1 will activate LED lights in your side mirror, making them flash.
  • In addition, if you move over despite the flashing lights, the vehicle will gently countersteer you back into your lane.
  • If you continue to make the lane change, your steering wheel will vibrate.

Even still — you’re the driver. And Lane Assist1 and Blind Spot Monitor1 acknowledge that in a seamless way.

  • You can ignore that nudge and move the steering wheel in the desired direction.
  • If you turn your wheel more sharply than what VW senses as drifting, it will conclude that you consciously wish to depart from the lane without a turn signal — because you are, ultimately, in control.
  • If you activate the turn signal, Lane Assist1 will be deactivated so that you can switch lanes or make a turn without the system kicking in — because you are, ultimately, in control.

Working behind the scenes, Lane Assist1 and Blind Spot Monitor1 never reveal their complex integration with your driving — by design. They help you keep an eye on the road, cueing you only according to their functions. That way, you can focus on your drive, not on the technology.