Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., better known as the maker of Subaru automobiles, announced that it has completed the development of a new driver aid system called "New EyeSight." The New EyeSight setup is based on Subaru's current
old EyeSight system, which debuted in May 2008 and has been available since then in Japanese Subaru vehicles; it features dual forward-facing cameras to give the vehicle stereoscopic vision for pedestrian detection. The new rig integrates with the other driver assist systems to improve overall vehicle safety. How come we never see this sort of tech in Subaru's North American offerings?
The New EyeSight adds a trio of features to Subaru's safety and driver aid suite: precollision braking control, precollision brake assist, and adaptive cruise control.
Precollision braking control and assist optically monitor the area in front of the vehicle for obstructions, such as other cars. If the New EyeSight determines that a collision is imminent and the driver suddenly brakes, the braking assist function helps slow the vehicle more quickly. If there's no action from the driver, the braking control system will assume that the driver isn't paying attention and automatically slow the car to a stop to avoid collision. If the speed difference is less than 18 mph (30 kph), the braking control system can avoid collision. At closing speeds greater than the 18mph mark, the system's autobraking can at least reduce collision damage.
Adaptive cruise control is exactly what you'd expect it to be. The system watches the road ahead and maintains a safe following distance from the vehicle in front. An all-speed range-tracking function allows the adaptive cruise to work in traffic jams, slowing the vehicle to a complete stop, holding it still, and starting again when the lead vehicle moves. Most systems we've tested use lasers or radar to maintain their distances, so it'll be interesting to see how the optics-based Subaru system holds up in, for example, foggy conditions where visibility is limited.
The New EyeSight will be available on Japanese-market Subaru Legacy models starting May 2010. No word on if we'll ever see this sort of gee-whiz tech on any North American Subies.