By on October 24, 2017

2017 Subaru Impreza sedan and hatch - Image: Subaru

The company formerly known as Fuji Heavy Industries is again investing in its safety-related R&D, creating additions to its Bifuka Proving Grounds in Japan. Bifuka is fun to say.

Dubbed the “Advanced Driver Assist Technologies Tracks,” the newest testing sites are said to have been built with the express purpose of developing advanced driver aids. If all of this sounds like future planning for testing autonomous driving solutions, you’re probably not too far off.

While the Exploding Galaxy has not announced plans for anything in the vein of Tesla’s Autopilot or Cadillac’s Super Cruise technology, it has recently doubled down on its driver-assist portfolio, now offering the EyeSight package as an option on upper trims of every model save for the BRZ.

Subaru’s EyeSight technology bundles adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and throttle management, and lane departure and sway warnings into a single package. This earns the Pleiades cars with this technology a “Superior” front crash protection rating by the IIHS. The system monitors the road ahead with two all-seeing cameras tucked up by the rearview mirror like a lurking HAL9000.

Subaru-Eyesight-02

It’s popular too, with EyeSight now found in nearly 40 percent of new Imprezas sold in America. Given this knowledge, it makes more than a lick of sense why Subaru would want to invest in proving grounds to help themselves hone this technology.

One of the new testing areas, a 2.6-mile high speed circuit, features long sweeping curves designed to mimic those found on freeways, merging lanes, and straight multi-lane stretches in order to simulate an American highway. Subaru installed some concrete lengths of roadway for good measure, as well. It’ll have to add a few potholes and crumbling bridges for a perfect recreation, though.

The other new testing area is said to be an urban road course, simulating two-lane traffic with a few intersections like one would find in rural areas. There’s also a euro-style roundabout, proving that Subaru is not putting all of its eggs in an America-shaped basket.

In addition to the EyeSight technology, Subaru has debuted a Touring Assist package in its home market of Japan. Using cameras to read the road ahead and carefully steer cars around gentle curves, Touring Assist has shown up on the Japanese version of the WRX and on the Levorg wagon. With Touring Assist, then, the Levorg easily assimilates corners. Resistance is futile.

Testing will begin at the new tracks before the end of this year.

[Image: Subaru]

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12 Comments on “Subaru’s Brace of New Test Tracks Hints at Options to Come...”


  • avatar
    ash78

    So Colorado legalizes recreational weed and suddenly Subaru ramps up their driving aids. Coincidence? Unlikely! #BloodshotEyeSight™

    I’m a guy who has sat and watched Subaru evolve over the years, but only actually wanted one until recently (I did want the bugeye WRX, but even back when I was 23 it still felt too immature). I just wish they offered more H6 models. And a Legacy wagon without the cladding.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I’m surprised the state of Indiana didn’t throw money at Subaru to build a test track in Lafayette, IN. There’s a pretty good engineering university in West Lafayette, IN.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      I suspect it had to be more of a worldwide test track for multiple markets, but I do find it ironic they’re building American-style highways in Japan for this.

    • 0 avatar
      mojeimeje

      Subaru already has a small test track at their plant in Lafayette, and I don’t think they have much vehicle engineering there to support a track.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Too bad that they couldn’t have bought the old Studebaker Test Track in New Carlisle, IN (Navistar bought it back in 2015). You can still read ‘STUDEBAKER’ from the air, in the trees they planted to spell their name, way back in the day.

  • avatar
    HahnZahn

    I’d love to see an in-depth story about driver assistance technology R&D. It was one of the main reasons I went with Subaru. EyeSight is the single best option I’ve ever had on a car. I use the adaptive cruise control on at least 3/4 of my commute. It really shines in stop-and-go during rush hour. I spent a lot of time in the year after Dieselgate broke determining which car I’d buy, and I found that most companies did a really terrible job drawing attention to their driver assistance tech, indicating its branding name (for VW it’s literally “Driver Assistance”) and making it clear for which cars/trims it was an option. Seems like Subaru’s minting money, and it’d be interesting to know how many people buy one because of EyeSight.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      Around here? Probably nobody is buying a car based on aids.

      But in my mind, driver assistance is a foregone conclusion, so you might as well buy a good one. In that respect, I like everything I’ve heard about their system.

      • 0 avatar
        stuntmonkey

        I passed on Eyesight when I got my car. I think if I had switched in 5 years time instead of now I would have taken it no hesitation, but coming from a car that was literally all-manual (no abs even), the thought of handing over computer control to a task that is literally right in front of my eyes was kind of a foreign concept. I’m almost sure I will different about this in 5 years time.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    That looks like the carriage that France used to surrender to Hitler.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Manufacturers are making a huge mistake with driver-assist. In many instances, they are merely transferring liability of the driver to themselves. The courts are going to have a field day unless federal regulations are enacted. Who knows what the unintended consequences of federal regulation will be.

    Fun times.

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