Subaru is one of these fascinating car builders brimming with out of the box thinking when it comes to engineering and technology. Their EyeSight technology is a point in case. It gives you - quite literally - an extra pair of eyes on the road. Since its introduction on the Japanese market in 2008, the system is further improved, and reason enough to present it here in our columns...as it will be available for the first time in Europe on the new Outback, to be launched in 2015.
Hans Knol ten Bensel
The EyeSight system consists of two CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxyde Semiconductor Image Sensor) colour camera's which are mounted on both sides of the rear view mirror. The system is designed to assist the driver, according to the Subaru philosophy, and is never meant to be an autonomous driving system. But what a system it is: EyeSight is coupled to engine, transmission and brakes and will intervene when the driver does not react appropriately, i.e does not steer and/brake as he should in the given emergency situation.
The system will also assess traffic flow and adapts the speed of the car if necessary.
Advanced, state of the art software...
Thanks to very sophisticated software the system recognises objects and calculates the risk of an accident. The driver gets first a visual warning, then an audio signal. When he/she still does not react, the system will intervene.
EyeSight consists of several systems. First, there is Pre-Collision Brake Warning, which warns the driver with an audio signal.
Pre-Collision Automatic Braking will intervene and brake with maximum power if necessary to avoid an accident. At speeds below 50 km/h, the system will even brake the car to a standstill. But there is more, like Pre-Collision Throttle Management, which will limit engine power.
The system will also warn the driver when he does not keep a traight line (Lane Sway Warning) or threatens to leave his lane (Lane Departure Warning). Then there is the Adaptive Cruise Control which adjusts speeds in conjunction with the EyeSight system at speeds up to 180 km/h. Finally there is Pre-Collision Brake Assist, which supports the driver when he is emergency braking. Steering response is then also raised, to assist the driver in his avoidance actions.
The system has been praised and awarded by the Japanese National Agency for Automotive Safety and Victim's aid, and declared the Subaru Outback a clear winner amongst 26 models from 9 contestants.
The system is therefore quite popular in Japan, and not less than 80 pct of the Subarus sold are equipped with the EyeSight system.
Also in the US, the National Institute for Highway Safety has awarded in August this year the new Subaru Outback with the 'Top Safety Pick' and ranked then 'Superior' (score 6) in their collision standards.
The new Outback
The EyeSight system will introduced on the new Outbacck, which will be introduced in Europe on the Geneva Show next year, with delivery in the Benelux market starting in spring 2015.
We look forward to see and feel in in action then!
Hans Knol ten Bensel