By on March 17, 2012

In Jim Boswell‘s great revisionist automotive history The CAFE Continuum, a Cadillac salesman shows off the “wonders of fin-mounted 3-D backup camera imaging”. Stereo backup cameras are still waiting for automakers to adopt autostereo (glasses free) display panels but forward-looking stereo cameras in cars are no longer the stuff of science fiction. Subaru has announced that the North American debut of their EyeSight™ driver assistance system will take place at the New York International Auto Show next month. Unlike the more common radar based ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) devices, EyeSight uses algorithmic analysis of the video stream from a camera. Well, actually cameras, since the system uses parallax information from two CCD cameras mounted near the top of the windshield.

The system provides pre-collision braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure and sway warning, and adaptive cruise control. Subaru made a point of saying that the cameras were developed by them. No mention of who developed the software with its complex algorithms. My guess is Mobileye, which supplies BMW and GM with OEM camera based ADAS and also has a line of aftermarket consumer models. Interestingly, Subaru refers to a “stereo camera” and processing “stereo images”, and doesn’t use the term 3D. That likely reflects the fact that Subaru is a Japanese company and Japanese 3D enthusiasts prefer the term stereo. EyeSight™ will first be optional on 2013 Legacy and Outback models and will eventually propagate through the entire Subaru lineup.

Subaru press release below.

“Subaru Debuts New EyeSight™ System

– Stereo Camera Based Driver Assist System
– Pre-Collision Braking
– System Capable of Pedestrian Detection
– Lane Departure and Sway Warning
– Adaptive Cruise Control
– Optional in 2013 Legacy and Outback

CHERRY HILL, N.J., March 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Subaru of America, Inc. has announced the debut of its EyeSight™ driver assistance system. The suite of safety and driver assist technologies will debut at the New York International Auto Show on 2013 Legacy and Outback models. EyeSight will subsequently appear on other products in the Subaru line-up. EyeSight integrates adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and vehicle lane departure warning. The new technology, which can also detect obstacles in front of a parked car and limit potential damage in an impact, will become available later this year.

Combining safety and convenience features, the Subaru EyeSight system will be one of the most affordable of such technologies available in the United States market. EyeSight uses two charge-coupled device (CCD) cameras developed by Subaru. EyeSight is mounted inside the car on the upper edge of the windshield, thus reducing the potential for damage that could occur in bumper-mounted systems, such as radar. The EyeSight system processes stereo images to identify the vehicles traveling in front, as well as obstacles, traffic lanes and other items. The video information is relayed to the EyeSight computer, which is also networked with the car’s braking system and electronic throttle control. Below speeds of approximately 19mph, EyeSight is capable of detecting pedestrians in the vehicle’s path and can activate in order to mitigate or even avoid the collision. Under certain circumstances, Eyesight is able to bring the car to a complete stop, thus avoiding a collision.

Pre-Collision Braking Control and Collision Mitigation

At relative speeds under approximately 19 mph, EyeSight’s Pre-Collision Braking System can detect obstacles in the car’s path and, if the driver has not applied the brakes in time, the system can do so to slow the vehicle or bring it to a full stop to help avoid the potential collision. Pre-Collision Braking is always on in the background to act like a second set of eyes for the driver. It can also be turned off temporarily for off-road or rough road travel.

At relative speeds above approximately 19 mph, EyeSight can apply the brakes when an object is detected, and will attempt to brake if the driver takes no evasive action, or does not brake appropriately. In this way it will mitigate potential damage from a collision. The system, which can recognize programmed objects such as vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians, can help mitigate collision damage.

Lane Departure and Sway Warning

By monitoring traffic lane markers and lines, the Subaru EyeSight system can detect if the car begins to wander outside the intended lane without a turn signal being used, or if the car begins to sway within the travel lane. Using the turn signal cancels the warning.

Adaptive Cruise Control

Intended for freeway use, Eyesight’s Adaptive Cruise Control system can maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front, braking and/or accelerating the car as needed to maintain the driver-selected target speed and traveling distance. Adaptive Cruise Control is operational from 1-87 mph and can fully brake the vehicle to a stop if the system “locks on” to a vehicle ahead.

As an added convenience, Adaptive Cruise Control assists the driver in heavy “stop and go” freeway traffic by maintaining distance from the vehicle ahead. This feature can help reduce driver fatigue, which can therefore help keep the driver alert.

Additional EyeSight Benefits

In heavy traffic conditions, EyeSight will also alert the driver when the vehicle ahead has moved if he or she doesn’t react within several seconds. The technology can also help reduce collision damages by cutting the throttle when it senses an obstacle in front, but the accelerator pedal continues to be pushed. The system is also effective when a driver shifts into ‘Drive’ inadvertently instead of ‘Reverse’ when backing out of a parking space. The stereo camera design of EyeSight provides a detection angle wider than that of radar-based systems.


EyeSight is not designed as a substitute for due care and attention to the road. The system may not react in every situation. There are certain operational limitations, such as when weather conditions obscure the view of the cameras. Finally, even with the advanced technology used, a driver with good vision and who is paying attention will always be the best safety system.”

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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20 Comments on “Subaru Uses Stereo 3D Tech in New EyeSight™ ADAS...”

  • avatar

    “At relative speeds under approximately 19 mph, EyeSight’s Pre-Collision Braking System can detect obstacles”

    good that most severe accidents and most driving happen a speeds below 19 mph.

    Edit: do they mean relative speed to the car in front? but why then still limited to 19 mph? if the car in front of me slams the brakes it easily is below a speed of 19 mph less, and this is where this system really would be needed.

    Maybe fix the cylinder head gaskets before moving to new gadgets that may not work. Just saying

  • avatar

    Anyone else see a major flaw here? They are using video cameras to properly identify hazards, but have placed the cameras where the windshield wipers will never reach.

    “There are certain operational limitations, such as when weather conditions obscure the view of the cameras”

    So basically, don’t count on this to work during snow, fog, smog, or rain. I guess that’s okay since no one drives Suburu’s in snowy or wet climates. Oh wait…

    • 0 avatar

      I thought about the same on this Xbox Kinect like tech vs others using sonar or radar. On the other hand, if these cameras were placed somewhere below the top of windshield, the program had to deal with the interference of wipers.

  • avatar

    The more unneeded gadgets a vehicle is loaded up with the more there is to go wrong . Recently had to pay to get a tire pressure sensor replaced that kept the low tire pressure dash light on even though the air pressure was fine . The vehicle was 5 years old at the time with less than 35k on on the odometer .

    • 0 avatar

      A what $150 repair on a 5 year old car? Tragedy of tragedies. You also didn’t have to replace your spark plugs @10k miles or less, fix the point ignition, adjust the carburetor every few months, or fix holes that rotted out in the body after 2 years of winter road salt. How spoiled are we getting? A little perspective is necessary. Cars are better built, safer, more fuel efficient, and more reliable than EVER. The neo-luddism on these forums gets to be a little much sometimes.

      • 0 avatar

        What does anything you listed have to do with finicky tire pressure monitors? Nothing you wrote excuses the failure of a questionably useful piece of equipment and associated expense incurred. And the whole “better built” line is false. The new Subaru Forrester I saw at the auto show was embarassingly tinny and flimsy feeling.

      • 0 avatar

        Expecting things to work properly for the life of a car is neo-luddism? Is it also neo-luddism to want a cure for cancer and Alzheimer’s despite the fact that our life expectancy & quality of life is much higher now?

      • 0 avatar

        That wasn’t Zombo’s argument but go ahead with your flawed analogy. Zombo is arguing that we shouldn’t have gadgets because they will break. Reliability of said gadgets is a completely different issue. To use your analogy, we shouldn’t cure Cancer because some people who get cured would get sick again.

    • 0 avatar

      Tire pressure sensor is not the strongest example of unneeded gadget as it probably pays for itself in decreased gas use while also increasing safety.

    • 0 avatar

      LMAO ! I suppose the fact that any meager gas savings a tire pressure monitor might have saved went right out the window and then some with the cost of the repair escaped the faulty logic of the anal types around here . Since I have my own compressor and check the tire pressure once a month anyway that gadget is useless to me . And yes I used to change my own plugs , points/condensor , ignition wires , distributor cap/rotor , and set the timing on the older cars I have owned . I totally agree that car owners HAVE become spoiled today , but do not see where my post is an example of that .

      • 0 avatar

        TPMS in a car that has actual features (and not a stupid warning light) will show you the inflation pressure of each tire, and you can check the pressure from the driver’s seat in a matter of seconds before setting out for a long drive. I’ll take that over being on my knees with a pressure gauge any day.

      • 0 avatar

        A couple of years ago I was rounding a bend on a freeway in SoCal at 70 mph on my Kawasaki Concours when the display lit up with a full screen tyre pressure loss warning. I slowed safely to the shoulder by which time the front tyre was as flat as a pancake. Since a mental image of my body wrapped around the Armco flashed before my eyes I have become a HUGE fan of tyre pressure sensors.

    • 0 avatar

      What’s a tyre ? Just kidding , but 70 mph is 5 mph over the limit so shame on you for speeding ! FYI I’ve had tires go flat on cars AND motorcycles without crashing to a horrendous death ! My 2009 V Strom doesn’t have them so I guess I’m a dead duck on that bike with a 70 mph flat according to you the expert on all such things ? The pressure sensor warns of a slow leak which does nothing in case of a sudden blowout which is rare , but sounds like what you had on your bike and why most bikes don’t have that feature (because it is very rare) . One again my point is the cost of fixing the sensor for idiot light that only warns of slow air leak has already cost more than any meager extra gas used would cost because of slightly lower air pressure . Maybe if I typed slower the point would get across ?

  • avatar

    I’m guessing there’s a black box somewhere in the car that stores the last minutes of video. Something else for cops, courts and insurance companies to use as data against you.

    • 0 avatar

      Well if there is a hard drive in these new Subarus, you could use the data against the opponents in court. I have a dash cam and rear cam set up on my basic honda civic for court evidence.

  • avatar

    The system”EyesSight” has been sold in Japan since 2008.
    This is the second time that they sell EyeSight outside Japan.
    It is already launched in Australia.
    Subaru developed Stereo Algorithm by themselves.

  • avatar

    Optically-based systems, seem so ” old tech” and prone to all the frailties associated there with. (Reminds me of the optically-based Siemens traffic network routing system prototype I had in my car circa 1995 this is totally obsoleted a few years later by GPS-based systems).

    What I find odd is that Toyota already was developing similar technology 15 years ago (mostly for lane control, automated parking, and lane departure warning), and with Toyota having a an equity participation in Subaru, one would think that Subaru would have access to this older Toyota .

    Perhaps this is and extension or re-branding of that old Toyota tech.

    To me it looks like a non-starter, or short lifer, due to the use of antiquated technology.

  • avatar

    Thanks to drunk pediatricians crushing their toddlers with giant SUVs and people too busy to put down their cell phones to pay attention to the car in front or to the side of them we now have so many useless electrical baubles that are supposed to make us better drivers and save billions of lives… oh, and drive the cost of cars way up.

    Does anyone even have actual statistics that any of this crap saves lives, or do we just have anecdotal evidence from the Ministry of Transportation that the CHMSL was the single best safety innovation?

  • avatar

    So basically, don’t count on this to work during snow, fog, smog, or rain. I guess that’s okay since no one drives Suburu’s in snowy or wet climates. Oh wait…

    u simply should not take your subie out on increment weather!

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