Subaru Details Next-Generation EyeSight System

The updated EyeSight system brings Subaru even closer to semi-autonomous driving.

Subaru's EyeSight crash avoidance system may have scored well in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's recent crash avoidance tests, but that doesn't mean the brand is resting on its laurels. Subaru announced last week that the next generation of the EyeSight system will be released next year with numerous new technologies.

The current version of the EyeSight system, which is a $2400-$4040 option (depending on trim and packaging) on Subaru Forester, Legacy, and Outback models, uses two cameras mounted on either side of the rear-view mirror to look forward up to 87 yards away from the vehicle. These cameras enable systems like adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure warning, and lane sway warnings. This system received the highest rating of "Superior" in the IIHS' recent testing of crash prevention and avoidance systems.

The new version of the EyeSight system makes strides toward semi-autonomous driving with better cameras that enables new technologies including Active Lane Keep, Hazard Avoidance Assist, Pre-Collision Reverse Throttle Management, and brake light recognition for the adaptive cruise control system.

Active Lane Keep includes Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Prevention Assist. The former can automatically steer the vehicle to stay in the middle of the lane when adaptive cruise control is activated, and the latter can sense if the driver is straying from the lane and use the steering to correct back into the center of the lane. Similar systems are available on higher-end luxury models like the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class with its Steering Assist system, and the 2014 Infiniti Q50 with its Lane Departure Prevention and Active Lane Control systems.

The new Hazard Avoidance Assist feature adds to the existing pre-collision systems that detect when the vehicle is approaching a potential obstacle. This system can use the vehicle's stability control to assist the driver in steering away from a possible collision when the system detects an obstacle in front of the vehicle.

Because the new camera which can detect colors, whereas the old one was black-and-white, the adaptive cruise control system will now be able to detect the brake lights of the vehicle ahead, meaning that the system can react more quickly to deceleration when following a vehicle.

One new feature that is slightly confusing is the Pre-Collision Reverse Throttle Management is a new feature that functions in reverse, displaying a warning and overriding the throttle when the driver makes a sudden accelerator input in reverse. However, there is no mention of how this system detects whether throttle input in reverse is intentional or accidental.

Subaru says this new system will initially be offered on Japanese-market vehicles starting in 2014 and subsequently rolled out to other markets after that. We would expect to see the new EyeSight technologies appearing in U.S.-market Subarus sometime next year.

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