Lancia and the Fiat Research Centre are taking part in the final event of the European euroFOT project, which is taking place in Brussels this week with Delta equipped with the "Driving Advisor" system being displayed.

Lancia and the Fiat Research Centre are taking part in the final event of the European euroFOT project initiative, which is taking place in Brussels over two days this week.

The event will make known the results of this large-scale project, a "Field Operational Test" in which the major European manufacturers have tested, with the direct involvement of their customers, the benefits that can be achieved in real traffic conditions with the latest driving assistance systems.

A Lancia Delta equipped with the sophisticated "Driving Advisor" system will be displayed during the event. This is an important preventive safety feature which advises the driver if they approach the edge of the lane involuntarily, a system which has been subjected to analysis by the Fiat Research Centre as part of the project.

A momentary distraction or drowsiness: two of the situations in which a driver may risk leaving the road. In order to reduce this risk, the Lancia Delta offers the "Driving Advisor" system. The image acquired by a camera on the windscreen is processed to measure the position of the vehicle in relation to the lines which mark the lane. If the analysis detects the risk of leaving the lane, a torque is applied to the steering wheel, generated by the electric power steering system installed on the car.

Certain operating characteristics ensure that interaction with the driver is intuitive and effective. While the vehicle keeps away from the edges of the lane, the normal sensation at the steering wheel is not affected. Furthermore, the system does not intervene if the direction indicator is activated, indicating that the driver wishes to leave the lane. If a torque is generated at the wheel, this provides an intuitive indication of the direction in which the driver must steer to bring the vehicle back inside the lane. If the driver does not keep their hands on the wheel, the system recognises this and generates an acoustic signal.

The "Driving Advisor" system is intended to prevent dangerous situations caused by driver distraction. The key aspect of the system is natural, intuitive interaction, with information that can be understood immediately, without any need for reflection, to favour a quick response and the reduction of cognitive load.

Approximately 1,800 customers and owners of a Lancia Delta were contacted to take part in this project. Of these, about 600 accepted, and half of these had a car which featured this device. The Fiat Research Centre, with the support of the Politecnico di Torino, the University of Torino and the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, followed each of these customers for about 9 months, allowing them to indicate the merits and defects of this system through five questionnaires, above all in terms of its capacity to assist accident prevention.

The questionnaires received, about 2,000, were then processed and analysed. The results were extremely positive. Approximately 90% of customers believe that the system improves driving safety. In general, customers judge the system to be useful, reliable, safe, easy to use and easy to learn how to use. A significant percentage of customers (more than 20%) admit that the system has improved some aspects of their driving behaviour, particularly the more frequent use of direction indicators to indicate a lane change. Several customers have indicated circumstances in which the system effectively assisted the resolution of a situation which might have become dangerous.

The "euroFOT" project, which has reached its conclusion, is part of a major effort by the European Commission to promote the widespread adoption of advanced driving assistance and preventive safety systems, through a concrete, extensive field test in real traffic conditions of the benefits that they can provide in terms of road safety, plainly borne out in the case of Lancia's Driving Advisor.

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