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The Future Is Here: A Car With Eyesight?

Pixabay.com / CC0 1.0.

Safety features have evolved greatly since the introduction of the first automobile, from the hand-operated windshield wiper in 1903 to the collision detection systems of today’s modern cars.

Standard features today, such as the airbag, were only experimental features in select Ford cars in 1971. Now, every car sold in the U.S. must come equipped with standard airbags. Combined with new collision systems, such as Subaru’s EyeSight, vehicle evolution has taken the next step in driver safety.

What is the EyeSight System?

Collision detection systems differ from completely autonomous systems that take over the driver’s functions. EyeSight does not automatically park the car in a tight space, but it does apply the brakes or decrease the throttle to reduce a collision’s severity or to help avoid the collision altogether.

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, the EyeSight System receives a superior front crash prevention rating for Subaru’s 2013-2014 midsize cars and SUVs. In fact, it ranks higher than the Forward Collision Alert System on the Cadillac ATS and the Distronic Plus and Pre-Safe Brake System on the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Not only do drivers receive a highly rated safety system, but they get it at a more accessible price.

Subaru’s EyeSight System assists the driver in making decisions for safer, more comfortable driving during times of fatigue or lack of focus. Though EyeSight helps with things such as regulating vehicle speed, detecting pre-collisions and assisting with braking, its primary function is to assist, not replace, the driver.

How Does the EyeSight System Work?

When Subaru introduced the first-generation EyeSight, it brought a luxury-end collision detection system to an average consumer. Like the first-generation before it, the second-generation EyeSight System features stereoscopic cameras that view objects in front of the car and stitch the feeds together to form an image. Whereas the first-gen system was limited to black and white vision, Subaru implemented color in the second-gen model, resulting in a 40 percent increase in viewing angles and detection distance.

Introducing color to the cameras also means the system works better at higher speeds. The previous version only worked up to 19 mph, but the new and improved EyeSight detects collisions up to 30 mph, improving the safety rating even more.

Subaru places the two EyeSight cameras inside the car on each side of the rearview mirror. Placing the cameras inside the car helps protect the system from possible collisions. These two cameras record the action in front of the car from different angles, allowing for a basic level of depth perception.

As the cameras record the situation, they send two images to the EyeSight computer for analysis. The system then detects pedestrians, motorcycles, cars and other obstacles. It can also detect traffic lights and brake lights and restrict throttle use if the driver attempts to accelerate from a stop with an obstacle in the way.

Complementary Features

EyeSight works in conjunction with other assist features to create a complete collision prevention system.

  • Pre-Collision Throttle Management reduces acceleration when the EyeSight System detects a possible collision.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control monitors the road ahead and activates braking when necessary. It can also regulate your speed and maintain a safe following distance.
  • Pre-Collision Braking System recognizes a possible collision in front of the vehicle and alerts the driver. It can also apply the brakes to avoid the obstacle or reduce its impact.
  • Lane Sway and Departure Warning alerts the driver if the vehicle sways in or out of its lane.
  • Pre-Collision Brake Assist also recognizes an upcoming obstacle and applies full braking pressure if the driver fails to apply enough braking force. This function is useful for shortening braking distances.
  • Lead Vehicle Start Alert alerts the driver if the vehicle in front has started moving but the EyeSight vehicle has not.

The driver can turn off EyeSight in cases that negatively affect the system, such as poor weather conditions, off-road travel and dirty windshields. Turning the system off gives the driver full control of the vehicle in all driving situations.

How Can You Get the EyeSight System?

Collision systems like the EyeSight driver support system are normally found in luxury, high-end vehicles; however, Subaru introduced its EyeSight System to the wider public in the Outback, Legacy and Forester models. Subaru also announced that it plans to release the third-generation EyeSight System in all future Subaru vehicles.

Is the EyeSight System the Right Choice for You?

According to Subaru, half of EyeSight owners claim the system helped them prevent an accident, and 90 percent of owners said they would recommend the system to others. The system doesn’t just alert the driver to possible dangers; it provides assistance when the driver needs it. You can turn off the system whenever you want and control the vehicle, or leave it on for added protection.

The Subaru EyeSight System is ideal for drivers who have to keep children occupied in the car or for those long-distance drives when fatigue sets in. Though your main focus should always be on the road, EyeSight comes in handy for those sudden moments when something else grabs your attention. As Subaru implements EyeSight in all of its future vehicles, it can only decrease the rate of accidents on the road and enhance the driving experience.