Optical sensor manufacturer Iteris Inc. of Anaheim, Calif., was selected by Ford Motor Co. to provide the Detroit automaker with optical lane departure warning systems for its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. The video-based in- vehicle sensor will be available to US consumers as early as mid-2002 on the 2003 models, an Iteris spokesman said. The company began in June to supply its AutoVue system to DaimlerChrysler AG in Europe. The sensor uses a computerized camera designed in-house, proprietary image recognition software and lane-recognition algorithms to track markings or other lane identifiers in the road. It uses a rumble strip sound to alert a distracted, drowsy or inattentive driver that an unintended lane change is about to occur, allowing the driver to take corrective action. Ford Marketing Manager Chris Van Dan Elzen said that the exclusive agreement runs through 2006 and that the systems could be installed as an option on many of the 7 million vehicles Ford manufactures each year.