This paper describes the GOLD (Generic Obstacle and Lane Detection) system, a stereo vision-based hardware and software architecture to be used on moving vehicles to increment road safety. Based on a full-custom massively parallel hardware, it allows to detect both generic obstacles (without constraints on symmetry or shape) and the lane position in a structured environment (with painted lane markings) at a rate of 10 Hz. Thanks to a geometrical transform supported by a specific hardware module, the perspective effect is removed from both left and right stereo images; the left is used to detect lane markings with a series of morphological filters, while both remapped stereo images are used for the detection of free-space in front of the vehicle. The output of the processing is displayed on both an on-board monitor and a control-panel to give visual feedbacks to the driver. The system was tested on MOB-LAB experimental land vehicle, which was driven for more than 3000 km along extra-urban roads and freeways at speeds up to 80 km/h, and demonstrated its robustness with respect to shadows and changing illumination conditions, different road textures, and vehicle movement.