Car Safety: How the EyeSight System Works

Amazing Eyesight offered by Subaru. Image courtesy of

Safety comes first, and nobody holds this statement to be more true than the car manufacturers. Each year, new models feature new safety systems that help keep drivers and passengers safe. Subaru designed the EyeSight System a few years ago, and now, they are even developing the third generation of this car safety system.

What is the EyeSight System and how does it work? Let us share the secret with you.

What is the EyeSight System?

Wouldn't it be better to avoid a crash in the first place?

A lot of factors can contribute to an accident taking place. It could be driver's fatigue, lack of attention to the road, or other drivers. Subaru is a car manufacturer known for constantly developing new systems to help drivers stay safe and enjoy the ride. They developed the EyeSight system which didn't really have never before seen features, but the features it had were combined in an original way to further improve safety on the road.

Simply said, the EyeSight System is a collision prevention system.

More luxurious cars, like Volvo and Mercedes Benz, already featured systems that served this purpose, but they were quite expensive, and not available to the regular driver. With the EyeSight System, collision prevention became more accessible.

However, as David Sullivan, Marketing Manager of Subaru of America, warned, this system is not meant to replace the driver and his focus while driving, but rather assist the driver in preventing minor accidents that happen because of the fatigue or lack of attention. The driver always remains responsible for his dangerous behavior while driving.

Besides making this safety system available to the wider public, the EyeSight System also surpassed all other cars in the IIHS's test where 74 mid-sized cars and SUV's were compared in terms of the effectiveness of their forward collision warning systems.

Currently, the second generation of the EyeSight System is implemented in the Outback, Legacy and Forester models, but the third generation is supposed to be available in all future Subaru vehicles. Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert will be added as additional safety systems, as well.

How does the EyeSight System work?

EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology watches for danger ahead to help avoid an accident.

The EyeSight System is a stereoscopic camera based system. It consists of two color cameras (the first generation cameras were black and white) mounted in the upper edge of the windshield inside the car. Cameras are mounted on each side of the rearview mirror and are facing forward.

Other car manufacturers that used sonar and radar based safety systems usually placed these devices on the front bumper, where they were always in danger of being damaged in case of an accident. Placing EyeSight's cameras inside the car protected them from such threats.

Since stereoscopic cameras are not able to scan the area in front of the car as far as radar, and they cannot process what they are seeing as quickly, using color cameras instead of the black and white ones improved the system's width and length of detection by 40%. It also allowed the system to work faster than before.

What these cameras do is screen the situation in front of the car from different angles. Then, the two images are sent to the system's computer that analyzes the images. By doing this, the system is able to access a basic level of depth perception. This allows the computer to recognize objects in the vehicle's way.

The system can detect pedestrians, motorcycles, different obstacles, or even traffic lights and brake lights. If it concludes that there is a possibility that collision could occur, it initiates warnings and uses its features to start preventing the accident.

Subaru EyeSight® system review by Jessica at Proctor Subaru.

There are six different functions incorporated in the EyeSight System. Each of these functions performs a special action suitable for the situation:

  • Pre-Collision Braking System recognizes the possibility of a collision with the object in front of the car and automatically starts braking the car to avoid or mitigate collision.
  • Pre-Collision Brake Assist is initiated when the system concludes that the driver is not applying the brakes with enough pedal force, and it applies up to full braking pressure so the braking distance will be as short as possible.
  • Pre-Collision Throttle Management is used when the car is at a stop, and the driver tries to accelerate even though there is an obstacle in front of the car. The driver is warned by a signal, and the engine power is reduced until the brakes are applied. This usually happens if you select Drive instead of Reverse by accident, or you start to merge onto another road when the vehicle ahead accelerates, but then suddenly stops.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control is a feature that is used to make sure your car keeps a safe following distance from the car ahead.
  • Lane Sway and Departure Warning function gives visual and audible warnings to the driver when the car is unintentionally moved out of the travel lane, or the system concludes that the way you are driving could be a sign of drowsiness.
  • Lead Vehicle Start Alert simply signals you that the vehicle in front of you has started moving, and you should do the same.

How does it all come together?

Pro driver Emile Bouret breaks down one of our most important safety innovations-EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology.

Usually, when the system detects a danger of collision, it starts applying pre-collision braking system and pre-collision throttle management first. This means that your car starts braking and the acceleration is disabled in order to prevent the accident.

However, if the EyeSight System detects that the driver is aware of the situation and is starting to take control over it, it will let the driver control further actions. The system is designed to default to the driver when in doubt.

Also, the system can be turned off whenever you want. Whether the outside conditions are not allowing the system to work properly (bad weather, dirty windshields, off road or rough road travel, etc.), or you would just rather control the car yourself, you can turn the system, and its features, off by pressing a button.

This safety system functions when your car's driving speed is below 30 mph. Even though this might sound a bit slow, you have to keep in mind that the system is designed to assist the driver, not replace him.

Subaru's research revealed that half of the owners of the cars with the EyeSight system have claimed this system has helped them prevent an accident, and 90% of owners would recommend this system to others.

Have you driven a car with the EyeSight System on? What was it like? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page!

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