By Chris Van Hoven
Automotive manufacturers have spent decades trying to build their brand recognition to a point where merely saying the brand name evokes an instant response. For Ford and Chevy, tough trucks come to mind. Mention Toyota, and you’ll think of reliability. Subaru has a proud heritage in motorsports and rally victories, focusing on their renowned all-wheel drive technology to push the notion that Subaru equals a fun drive with high-performance vehicles. But what happens when an industry suddenly shifts priorities?
The trends are difficult to ignore, and we’re seeing a slow but sure movement towards cars that focus on safety. It’s easy to spot just from the wave of autonomous technologies we’re seeing from Asian, European, and American car manufacturers. Suddenly, daydreams of winning rally races are giving way to hands-free functionality, and guaranteed safety.
Subaru has been adopting quite well lately. From touting their all-wheel drive tech to focus on performance, they’ve shifted to proclaiming their safety benefits as well. Subaru have also invested heavily into their new Subaru Global Platform, which increases chassis rigidity, and improves crash absorption. Their latest reveal, however, is what truly showcases Subaru’s priority on improving the safety levels of their vehicles. Subaru calls it EyeSight, and it brings Subaru’s safety benchmarks to a whole new level.
EyeSight is a driving support system that uses a range of functions to assist the driver in numerous scenarios, providing a safer and comfortable driving experience. EyeSight uses stereo cameras to identify the surrounding vehicles, obstacles, traffic lanes and other items, and helps the driver react to them accordingly. All 2017 Subaru models equipped with EyeSight received the highest possible 2017 rating for front crash prevention by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the United States. EyeSight hasthe following main functions.
If the system detects an imminent collision with the vehicle ahead, the driver is first warned with a buzzer and a light on the dash. If no evasive action is taken to avoid the collision, the system can automatically apply the brakes to reduce the impact or, in certain scenarios, prevent the collision entirely.
Adaptive Cruise Control
An evolution of standard cruise control, Adaptive Cruise Control adjusts the speed of the vehicle to keep a set distance between your car and the car in front of you by constantly monitoring differences in speed. It automatically adjusts the engine, transmission, and brake to keep your speed in line with the traffic flow ahead. If the car ahead comes to a complete stop, your car does too, and remains stopped until you resume the cruise control feature.
Pre-Collision Throttle Management
The Pre-Collision Throttle Management system seems specifically designed to avoid any sudden unintended acceleration accidents. When EyeSight sees an obstacle in front of you and you put the vehicle in drive instead of reverse, the system sounds several short beeps, turns on a flashing indicator, and limits the engine output to 20-percent for four seconds, effectively reducing a catastrophic rear end collision to a mere kiss on the cheek.
Lane Sway and Departure Warning
These systems sendyou a warning when travelling at speeds of 50 km/h or more and you start to drift across your lane without signaling.The system does not automatically correct the sway, so you’ll still need to manually steer towards the center of the lane.
Lead Vehicle Start Alert
When you’re at a full stop and EyeSight senses that traffic has started moving again, this systemalerts you that it’s time to get moving again with a buzzer and a flashing indicator.
We tested the EyeSight technology on Subaru’s new Outback and XV models, and came home highly impressed. The systems are highly intuitive, and inspire new levels of confidence on the road. It’s a step in the right direction for Subaru, and will be a welcome addition to local roads.