BUY LANEFX AND SAVE
LaneFX is Leading the Way for Auto Safety and Driver Awareness Everyday
Drive Safer With the Drivaware LaneFX: Most
of the time, when consumer electronics meet the automotive world, you get more stereo options and DVD players in the back seat. Drivaware has something a little more useful: the LaneFX,
a controller than connects your power mirrors to your turn signals, so that when you signal (you do signal before you turn, right?), your mirrors swivel outward so that you can
see your blind spot. Hey, if this keeps just one cyclist out of the hospital, I’m happy.
Derik’s Thoughts: Geeky and useful. Double threat!
ParkFX For Your SUV - Prevent a Tragedy
At least once a week a child in America is run over, typically in backup (reversing) accidents
Are you extra aware and alert when you're in the vicinity of a sport-utility vehicle, van or a pickup truck that's backing up? Are you especially watchful for children when you're behind the wheel
of a tall-riding vehicle—be it a van, truck or SUV—and you're backing it up?
You should be. According to Consumer Reports, the blind spot behind a tall vehicle such as a Chevrolet
Avalanche truck can extend as much as 51 feet in the case of a small-stature driver about 5 feet 1 inches tall. Even for an average-sized driver, 5 feet 8 inches tall, the blind spot can
extend nearly 30 feet behind the Avalanche, according to the consumer advice publication.
"No one is telling people there's a bigger blind spot in these vehicles," said Janette Fennell, founder and president of the child safety advocacy group Kids
Pointing out her statistics showing at least one child a week in the United States is killed in a "backover" incident, Fennell urges that some kind of "backover warning and prevention
device" be made mandatory on all vehicles.
How To Avoid Car Gadgets & Choose the Right Park Assist Technology for Your Driving Safety
Aftermarket companies offer three types of backup systems: rear-view cameras, sensor systems, and mirror tilt-down. Use Types to
decide which type best suits your needs. For all camera and sensor systems, we recommend professional installation.
No matter what type of system you choose, consider these things when deciding on a specific model:
Know how the device mounts on your vehicle.
Camera and sensor systems that are mounted on the vehicle’s bumper or bodywork may necessitate drilling. They may not be the best choice if you lease your vehicle.
If you have a hitch, you can consider a model that mounts in the trailer-hitch receiver. But you would have to remove the system to use your hitch.
Other camera and sensor models mount on the license-plate frame. But some states prohibit frames because they can obscure the plate.
Within types, features vary. This is especially true with the sensor models we tested. The ultrasonic systems were generally the most sensitive, but their performance was adversely affected
by rain, snow, or other inclement weather.
The microwave-based sensor systems we tested were not affected by weather but are less sensitive as a group. They also don’t warn the driver unless the vehicle or object behind it is moving.
The display quality of the camera-based models is very good, although it doesn’t match that of the larger screens on some carmakers’ systems. Most of the system displays turn on when the
vehicle shifts into reverse, but one, the Audiovox, must be turned off and on manually.
LaneFX Standard Features to Make Every Lane Change Safer
Q. Even though LaneFX is ultra simple concept, you've managed to make LaneFX a very feature rich product. Correct?
A. Absolutely. Let me give you a brief walk through of the features and
add-on options of the LaneFX system:
- First we talked about the universal fit of LaneFX.
- Second, ease of installation (which you have to remember quick installations mean less cost of
ownership to the customer and faster seamless installations mean higher customer satisfaction). The way we were about to simplified installation on hundreds if not thousands of power mirror systems
is by using an Intelligent Learn Technology. So all the installer has to do is hook up a set of 3 wires on either side of LaneFX module. And then all the installer has to do is start learn mode
and the unit "learns" the
wiring setup of the vehicle and configures itself on that basis. No complex wiring diagram, no programming required.
- Third, all mirror movements are fully customizable at installation. We wanted to make
LaneFX as responsive to the driver and tailored to the driver's preferences as possible. So with every LaneFX unit, each driver can customize how far the mirror opens up, how long it pauses when it
gets there, and even how fast the mirror should move. You can control your preferences separately for the right and left mirror.
- LaneFX is intended to be a
concealed unit either under the dash or in the trunk. So these adjustments should be made at installation and you can always tweak them or change occasionally after that.
- Another feature we offer in
the system is control of both mirrors. So you control the left and right mirror separately or concurrently.
Q. And all of these features you mentioned are standard in every LaneFX box?
A. Yes. That's correct.
Q. But I also understand that you have a number of optional add-on components that a customer can choose to further enhance his/hers LaneFX system.
A. Our team has worked very diligently to research
what consumers would like to have in their complete LaneFX system. Let me share with you a quick list of what some of these options are:
- First is a very inexpensive add-on component we have that we think
is going to be very popular, especially among entry level domestic vehicles is the optional Mirror Speed Boost. With this component owners of vehicles with slow moving power mirrors
can safely boost their mirror movement speeds up to 200% of OEM speed. This will provide drivers with a way to ensure that LaneFX movement is responsive to their driving needs. All of the mirror speeds
are customizable by the driver from 80% to 200% of OEM speed, and those adjustments can be done separately for left and right mirrors.
- Second we have a great optional component that's quite frankly
is a driver awareness system in and of itself: ParkFX. ParkFX is an active park assist and curb exposure system that uses your side mirrors
to expose the parking boundaries around your vehicle as your backing up. Much in the same LaneFX moves your mirror outward to expose the blind spot next to you and behind you, ParkFX
tilts the blind spot mirror downward when you put the vehicle in reverse to expose either
the parking lines let's say if you were in a mall parking lot, or more importantly to expose the curb in parallel parking situations. When you take the car out of reverse, the mirror comes back to
its original position, every single time. Just like LaneFX, ParkFX is universal and fully-customizable to the driver's preferences. The system
works on any vehicle, new or old, domestic or import, manual or automatic transmission. And you can choose to have ParkFX control the left, right or both mirrors. And to be complete, you can also configure
at installation how much ParkFX should tilt each of these mirrors when the vehicle is backing up. So for a big SUV, you can choose the blind spot mirrors to tilt down farther than say someone who drives
a small sedan. Everything is universal and fully-customizable to your needs.
- Thirdly is an add-on component we are very proud of: our Turn Signal Link integration kit. I put my blinker on and that activates
LaneFX to show me my blind spot before I change lanes? Yes exactly. And you can also configure the Turn Signal Link integration kit to activate only when the vehicle is moving above certain speed,
like over 55mph to have it only activate on when you're on the highway, or say over 35mph in an urban city setting.
- The forth in our options list is a plug-and-play wireless controls kit. We've heard time and time again that drivers would
ideally like the LaneFX controls at the finger tips, just like your horn or turn signal stalk. this tiny module I am holding is an example of a left-hand wireless control. So we designed this wireless
kit so that installers never have to worry about running wires to the steering wheel (which is a no no) and to give the customer to place the controls anywhere. The wireless controls kit includes two
controls for left and right and is designed to fit behind one of your steering-wheel spokes. The placement is meant to avoid competing with the increasing number of OEM buttons on the front
of the steering wheel. Also the placement behind the top spoke make the LaneFX control within the reach of a finger tip without having to move a hand off the steering wheel regardless in you drive
with your hands in the 10-to-2 position or racing style.
- One more plug-and-play optional component which is our Speed Sensitivity Mode. This is an
add-on component that integrates with OBDII port of virtually any vehicle and continuously reads the vehicle speed. The LaneFX module is pre-programmed to take advantage of this option and it then
produces more dynamic mirror movement based on the vehicle speed. This ensures an ever greater degree of responsiveness to the driver's needs in real-time. So LaneFX moves the mirror faster at say
70mph than at 55mph? Exactly right, and it also pauses less when it reaches its maximum expansion angle at higher speeds.
ParkFX is the 360-Degree Backup Solution and it's Less Costly Than Backup Sensors, Park Assist and Rearview Cameras
Deaths increase. Ninety-one children were killed in 2003 by drivers who didn’t see them while backing up, according to Kids and Cars ( www.kidsandcars.org ),
a nonprofit organization working to improve child safety around vehicles. Those deaths represented a 57 percent increase from 2002. During the first six months of 2004, more than 40 deaths have
been attributed to backover accidents, many involving vehicles with large blind spots.
Kids and Cars compiles these statistics; the federal government does not track such incidents. Janette Fennell, president of the organization, believes that backover accidents are underreported
and that the actual number of children killed or injured is much higher.
Blind spots grow with vehicle size. A likely reason for the increase in injuries is that minivans, pickups, and SUVs account for more than half of all vehicles sold. Many have large
rear-view blind spots.
Last year, Consumer Reports began measuring the blind spot of each vehicle we test, checking the distance for short drivers (5 feet 1 inch tall) and for those of average height (5 feet
8 inches tall). The biggest blind spot: 51 feet for a short driver in a Chevrolet Avalanche pickup. But even small sedans can have blind spots of more than 40 feet. We regularly update vehicle
blind-spot information, which is available on this site free of charge in The
problem of blind spots.
Systems other than ParkFX combine a camera with sensors, so we tested each system independently; it is listed with camera systems in the Ratings.
All the systems we tested are potentially useful. They’re a good complement to looking around the vehicle before entering, and checking the rear window and rear-view mirror just before and
while moving in reverse.
Moms Put ParkFX to the Test
There are no government statistics, but some estimate the family car killed as many as 500 children across the country last year. And the accidents happened in their own driveways.
While some may wonder what kind of parent could do that, Rachel Clemens said it could happen to just about anyone.
Two years ago, her daughter Adrianna wandered out of her Garland home.
That’s when Adrianna's father accidentally backed over the child with his SUV.
"He didn't see her," Clemens said. "That was the last day I saw my daughter alive."
So, how could you not see a child behind the family car?
Three Dallas moms agreed to take a safety test with the understanding that they would not know exactly what the tests were about.
While they were distracted filling out a questionnaire, Drivaware and Safe4Kids placed an orange cone about 8-feet behind their vehicles and the drivers were then asked to back up.
All three plowed right over the cone.
"Did I just run over something?" Adrienne Ludlow as said as she backed up.
"Oh, I hit the cone," said Amy Gordon.
"I figured it was a branch or something," said Merideth Manning.
Drivaware and Safe4Kids measured the blind spot behind each of their vehicles. The Honda Pilot had a blind spot over 30 feet, an Infiniti G35 about 18 feet and a Chevy Tahoe more than 35 feet.
The eye-opening experiment had all three women interested in the same thing, which was looking into safety equipment like ParkFX or a rear sensor that beeps faster the closer a driver gets to an object.
Safety cameras mounted on the rear of car are also available. The cameras relay a picture of the blind spot to a screen on the dashboard.
Both technologies are available on new cars with after-market installation costs less than $500.
"I would absolutely buy it, but wouldn't think of it until you came over and showed me how dangerous this could possibly be," Gordon said.
Attorney Windle Turley represents the Clemens family, which sued Nissan, the maker of the family's SUV. They claim the technology should have been standard equipment. The case is still pending.
"Manufacturers take off this needed safety equipment so they can market their vehicle a little bit lower in price than their competitors; and that's really wrong,” Turley said.
The trade group representing automakers says, "the best defense against back-over accidents is to check around the vehicle before you back up."
"That does not work and you're sending the wrong signal,” Clemens said.
Clemens, and several lawmakers in Washington, support legislation that would require automakers to put back-over safety equipment on all new cars.
Experts say it would add up to $200 to the price.
"To me, I think to anybody, any parent, the cost is nothing compared to a child's life," Clemens said.
There are no official numbers, but one safety group estimates that in Texas more than 90 children have been killed in or around parked vehicles in the last 15 years.
Let me tell you about the coolest product I never reviewed. It's a wonderfully complex solution to a problem that shouldn't
even be a problem. This product, LaneFX, is a microcontroller that interacts with the side mirrors in your car.
You want to change lanes, and you glance in your side mirror. It looks clear. But in your LaneFX-equipped car, you can press a button and the mirror sweeps out to show you the blind spot
beyond the limit of your peripheral vision. Then it returns to its normal position. If you flick on your turn signal, the mirror also does its sweep.
It works on either side of the car, and it also has an extended mode for when you want to keep an eye on traffic alongside and behind you, as when you're merging onto a freeway. Now let's
say you're going to parallel-park. You slip your car into reverse—and the right mirror angles itself downward so you can see the curb.
Although that's the end of the LaneFX's bag of tricks, it's just the beginning of the ways it can be implemented. You can customize how far each mirror moves, how long it pauses, and how
long it takes to get there. You can even make mistakes in hooking up the wires to the mirror motors; the microcontroller has a learn mode so you can teach it which wires to use to control each
motion. An LCD screen prompts you through every step of the procedure.
Don't Forget About Your Backup Blind Spots
Available ParkFX is the best park assist system to show you the parking boundaries and dangers around you when you're backing up
Kids ‘N Cars, a consumer organization working to make it safer for children to be around cars, is calling attention to the problem of the blind spot--that area behind the vehicle that you can’t
see from the driver’s seat. The organization notes that at least 58 children were backed over and killed last year alone.
How big can the backup blind spot be? We measured a sedan, minivan, SUV, and pickup to find out. We used a 28-inch-high traffic cone, measuring how far behind the vehicle it would have to be before an
average (5 feet 8 inches) and short (5 feet 1 inch) driver could see it. Larger vehicles tend to have a significantly larger blind spot. (Studies show the length of each blind spot; lighter for an average-height
driver, darker for a shorter driver.)
Later in 2006, tests will be published on backup sensors and rear-view video backup warning cameras that could help to reduce the blind-spot problem. It’s best to always look carefully behind the
vehicle before you get in and again before you put the car in gear. Also, always back up slowly.