Subaru's Brace of New Test Tracks Hints at Options to Come
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.
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.
TW5 on Oct 24, 2017
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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