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Subaru’s Anti-Collision System to Rival Ones in Luxury Cars

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Subaru logoSubaru will unveil its new collision prevention system on its 2013 Legacy and Outback models next month at the 2012 New York International Auto Show. The EyeSight driver assistance system, which will be available later this year, integrates adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and vehicle departure warning, and can also detect obstacles in front of a parked car and limit potential damage in an impact.

As Wayne Cunningham writes for CNET.com, “in one swoop” Subaru “is giving its cars a set of advanced driver assistance features competitive with those from Mercedes-Benz and Audi.” Although, as Chris Woodyard reports for USA TODAY’s DriveOn blog, Subaru is not the first automaker to have a car that stops itself before an impending crash, “Subaru hopes to stand out from the others by giving its system an extra that the others lack: a lower price tag.”

Woodyard goes on to say:

Subaru’s system, billed as the ‘most affordable’ coming to market, will use two cameras mounted on the upper edge of the windshield to give a stereo view. Subaru says the system is less likely to get damaged on the windshield instead of being mounted in the front bumper, like some other automakers.

The video information from the two cameras is relayed to the EyeSight computer, which is networked with the car’s braking system and electronic throttle control. EyeSight’s stereo camera design provides a detection angle wider than that of radar-based systems.

A Subaru press release says:

Below speeds of approximately 19mph, EyeSight is capable of detecting pedestrians in the vehicle’s path and can activate in order to mitigate or even avoid the collision. Under certain circumstances, Eyesight is able to bring the car to a complete stop, thus avoiding a collision. […]

Pre-Collision Braking is always on in the background to act like a second set of eyes for the driver. It can also be turned off temporarily for off-road or rough road travel. […]

The technology can also help reduce collision damages by cutting the throttle when it senses an obstacle in front, but the accelerator pedal continues to be pushed. The system is also effective when a driver shifts into ‘Drive’ inadvertently instead of ‘Reverse’ when backing out of a parking space.

At speeds above 19 mph, EyeSight can apply the brakes when it detects an object, and if a driver does not apply the brakes, it will attempt to, to mitigate potential damage from an accident. The system is able to recognize vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

EyeSight monitors traffic lane markers and lines to detect if the car begins to wander outside its lane without the turn signal being used, or if a car sways within its lane. As Cunningham notes, “This lane departure warning is useful for drowsy drivers who may let the car drift into oncoming traffic… Another benefit for inattentive drivers is a feature that works in stop-and-go traffic. When the car ahead begins to move, the system sounds an alert if the Subaru’s driver does not get moving.”

The Adaptive Cruise Control maintains a safe distance from the vehicle in front, and brakes or accelerates as it needs to, to maintain the target speed and distance that the driver has selected. It has the ability to fully brake the car “if the system ‘locks onto’ a vehicle ahead,” Subaru’s press release says.

According to an earlier press release, the EyeSight system was first displayed on a 2010 Subaru Impreza Concept car. After the 2013 model year Legacy and Outback launch, EyeSight will subsequently appear on other products in the Subaru lineup.

Subaru expresses the following caveats:

EyeSight is not designed as a substitute for due care and attention to the road. The system may not react in every situation. There are certain operational limitations, such as when weather conditions obscure the view of the cameras. Finally, even with the advanced technology used, a driver with good vision and who is paying attention will always be the best safety system.

Image by Subaru, used under Fair Use: Reporting.

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