Eye­Sight never looks away from road

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - AUTOS - JIM KERR

SAFETY ranks right up there with styling, re­li­a­bil­ity and value when shop­ping for a new ve­hi­cle. The safety sys­tems on the new­est ve­hi­cles are truly amaz­ing. Hope­fully you will never need them, but if and when you do, they are well worth it.

One of the ve­hi­cles on the mar­ket that has been show­cas­ing its safety fea­tures is the 2015 Subaru Le­gacy. The Le­gacy was named this year as the Best New Car of the Year by the Au­to­mo­bile Jour­nal­ists As­so­ci­a­tion of Canada and ve­hi­cle safety is part of the judg­ing cri­te­ria.

Eye­Sight is the Subaru name for one of their safety sys­tems, and I call it a sys­tem be­cause it does much more than just one thing. Think of Eye­Sight as a sec­ond pair of eyes watch­ing the road for you, with its own brain that can de­tect and re­act to un­safe sit­u­a­tions, even faster than you could your­self.

Eye­Sight is cam­era-based driveras­sist tech­nol­ogy that in­te­grates fea­tures pre­vi­ously usu­ally only found on luxury cars in a pre­mium price range. Us­ing cam­era-recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy, the Eye­Sight sys­tem can pro­vide adap­tive cruise con­trol, pre-col­li­sion brak­ing, pre-col­li­sion throt­tle man­age­ment and lane-de­par­ture warn­ing with­out hav­ing to add sonar or radar sys­tems to the cam­era tech­nol­ogy

Two small stereo­scopic cam­eras mounted in­side the wind­shield on ei­ther side of the rear-view mir­ror mon­i­tor the road. Even if you take your eyes off the road, Eye­Sight never does. The cam­eras’ view is cleaned ev­ery time the wind­shield is washed. Subaru has even in­stalled an ex­tra washer noz­zle just to clean the cam­era area. The cam­eras have a 30 de­gree field of view and can “look” down the road up to 87 me­tres. Of course, snow, fog or any other visibility-re­duc­ing driv­ing con­di­tions will af­fect the sys­tem’s op­er­a­tion, but the driver wouldn’t be able to see then ei­ther, so the ve­hi­cle shouldn’t be driven.

On many ve­hi­cles, adap­tive cruise con­trol of­ten uses for­ward-look­ing radar to de­tect ve­hi­cles ahead and slow your ve­hi­cle to a pace match­ing them. Eye­Sight works in a sim­i­lar fash­ion but uses cam­era tech­nol­ogy. By com­par­ing the im­age size of ve­hi­cles ahead, the Eye­Sight com­puter can de­tect if the ve­hi­cles are main­tain­ing speed or slow­ing down. The driver can ad­just the sys­tem set­tings for three dif­fer­ent fol­low­ing dis­tances to the ve­hi­cle ahead. If they are slow­ing, Eye­Sight can con­trol throt­tle and brak­ing to bring the Subaru to a match­ing speed. This even works all the way to a stop. Eye­Sight adap­tive cruise will bring the car to a stop if the ve­hi­cle ahead stops. This isn’t rec­om­mended for your morn­ing com­mute, how­ever, since driv­ers should be pay­ing at­ten­tion and con­trol­ling the car. Let Eye­Sight work for those un­ex­pected sit­u­a­tions.

Along with adap­tive cruise con­trol, Eye­Sight also pro­vides pre-col­li­sion brak­ing, con­stantly watch­ing and gaug­ing the dis­tance to the cars ahead. If a ve­hi­cle ahead rapidly slows down, Eye­Sight will sound an alert and flash a warn­ing on the in­stru­ment clus­ter. If you don’t hit the brakes, Eye­Sight will do it for you au­to­mat­i­cally. If the ve­hi­cle speed is less than 30 km/h, Eye­Sight will likely be able to pre­vent a col­li­sion, but if speeds are higher, the sys­tem still works to min­i­mize the im­pact and col­li­sion dam­age.

If the driver does step on the brake pedal, Eye­Sight still mon­i­tors the dis­tance and will ap­ply ad­di­tional brak­ing force if nec­es­sary. In­ter­est­ingly, the sys­tem stops au­to­mat­i­cally brak­ing af­ter three near-misses in a row. The car must be turned off and restarted for the au­to­matic brak­ing to work again, although warn­ings con­tinue. Subaru tells us this is a warn­ing for ex­tremely ter­ri­ble driv­ers to wake up.

A third fea­ture of Eye­Sight is pre­c­ol­li­sion throt­tle man­age­ment. Eye­Sight at­tempts to avoid in­ad­ver­tently ac­cel­er­at­ing into an ob­ject or ve­hi­cle ahead. Imag­ine a line of ve­hi­cles mak­ing a right turn into traf­fic and the ve­hi­cle ahead of you sud­denly stops in­stead of merg­ing while you are per­form­ing a shoul­der check. Eye­Sight will de­tect the ve­hi­cle ahead, cut the throt­tle and sound a warn­ing so the driver has time to re­act and brake to avoid a col­li­sion.

The last part of the Eye­Sight sys­tem is lane-de­par­ture warn­ing. Eye­Sight mon­i­tors the lane mark­ings and will sound a warn­ing when the ve­hi­cle drifts too close to an­other lane. Eye­Sight will also sound a warn­ing if the ve­hi­cle sways back and forth within its own lane.

Cam­era-recog­ni­tion fea­tures are be­com­ing more com­mon on ve­hi­cles and they can add greatly to ve­hi­cle safety. Check them out on your next test drive.


The 2015 Subaru Le­gacy was named the Canadian Car of the Year for 2015 at this year’s Canadian In­ter­na­tional Auto Show.

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