Subaru's Brace of New Test Tracks Hints at Options to Come

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
subarus 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.

[Image: Subaru]

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  • Pig_Iron Pig_Iron on Oct 24, 2017

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

  • TW5 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.

    • See 1 previous
    • Pig_Iron Pig_Iron on Oct 24, 2017

      I expect they will lobby for immunity like the gun lobby.

  • MaintenanceCosts We hear endlessly from the usual suspects about the scenarios where EVs don't work as well as gas cars. We never hear the opposite side of the coin. From an EV owner (since 2019) who has a second EV reserved, here are a few points the "I road trip 1000 miles every day" crowd won't tell you about:[list][*]When you have a convenient charging situation, EV fueling is more convenient than a gas car. There is no stopping at gas stations and you start every day with a full tank.[/*][*]Where there are no-idling rules (school pickup/dropoff, lines for ferries or services, city loading, whatever else) you can keep warm or cool to your heart's content in your EV.[/*][*]In the cold, EVs will give you heat from the second you turn them on.[/*][*]EVs don't care one bit if you use them for tons of very short trips. Their mechanicals don't need to boil off condensation. (Just tonight, I used my EV to drive six blocks, because it was 31 degrees and raining, and walking would have been unpleasant.)[/*][*]EVs don't stink and don't make you breathe carcinogens on cold start.[/*][*]EV maintenance is much less frequent and much cheaper, eliminating almost all items having to do with engine, transmission, or brakes in a gas car. In most EVs the maintenance schedule consists of battery coolant changes and tire maintenance.[/*][*]You can accelerate fast in EVs without noisily attracting the attention of the cops and every passerby on the street.[/*][/list]
  • MaintenanceCosts Still can't get a RAV4 Prime for love or money. Availability of normal hybrid RAV4s and Highlanders is only slightly better. At least around here I think Toyota could sell twice the number of vehicles that they are actually bringing in at the moment.
  • Tree Trunk Been in the market for a new Highlander Hybrid, it is sold out with order time of 6 months plus. Probably would have bit the bullet if it was not for the dealers the refuse to take an order but instead want to sell from allotment whether it fits or not and at thousands over MRSP.
  • AKHusky The expense argument is nonsense. My mach e was $42k after tax credit. Basically the same as similarly equipped edge. And it completely ignores that the best selling vehicles are Rams, F150s, and Silverados, all more expensive that a bolt, MAch e or ID4. As an owner, I'd say they are still in second car territory for most places in the country.
  • Johnster I live in a red state and I see quite a few EVs being purchased by conservative, upper-class Republicans (many of them Trump-supporters). I suspect that it is a way for them to flaunt their wealth and that, over time, the preference for EVs will trickle down to less well-off Republicans.
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