Subaru sharpens EyeSight capabilities in Japan

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Subaru Corp. has partnered with Silicon Valley tech company Xilinx on an enhanced EyeSight safety system with new features that will first launch in the Japanese market.

EyeSight, which is a stereo vision-based advanced driver-assistance and safety system, will be powered by Xilinx’s UltraScale multiprocessor system-on-chip. This provides the power to process the stereo images into 3D “point clouds” with “ultra-low latency and functional safety,” said Willard Tu, Xilinx’s senior director of automotive.

“That’s really needed so that the EyeSight system can accurately understand and react to dynamic driving situations,” he said.

Other Xilinx customers include established companies such as Daimler, Continental, Magna and Veoneer, but also startups such as Pony.ai.

Subaru’s EyeSight system has two outward-facing interior cameras placed toward the top of the windshield, above the rearview mirror, that scan the road ahead for objects, including vehicles and pedestrians.

Subaru introduced EyeSight in the U.S. in 2012. Currently, EyeSight in the U.S. includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, lane-departure and sway warning, lane-departure prevention and lead vehicle start alert, which tells the driver that the vehicle stopped ahead has resumed moving.

The stereo camera is the core technology of EyeSight, said Eiji Shibata, general manager of automated driving and advanced safety at Subaru. Shibata, speaking through a translator, noted that the automaker has been improving the system’s object and situation recognition for the front and side views.

With the latest version of EyeSight, Subaru has improved the stereo camera, Shibata said.

“This is where the Xilinx feature comes in,” he said. “That allowed to us roughly double the field of view.”

With that increase, Subaru was able to add features to EyeSight, starting initially with the next-generation Levorg wagon for the Japanese market only.

The enhanced standard capabilities are aimed at preventing collisions that are likely to occur at intersections and in urban environments, such as a head-on crash or a pedestrian being hit while a vehicle turns. .

On the highway, the updated EyeSight now has active lane-change assist, auto deceleration based on road curve prediction and hands-off driving in congested traffic, Subaru says. However, those features are optional equipment on the Levorg, depending on the model’s trim level, a Subaru spokesman said.

Subaru has updated EyeSight’s driver-monitoring abilities to respond to situations such as driver distraction, unintentional acceleration and loss of consciousness, which is an optional monitoring feature.

Shibata said the new functions were developed for Japanese road and driving conditions. The automaker will need to prepare the functions for other regions, including the U.S.

“We do have a schedule internally, and we are developing these products for the U.S. market,” Shibata said. “I believe that in the near future, we can bring that to the U.S. market, as well. However, not all these functions can brought as they are to the U.S. roads. We want to make sure that we develop these functions specifically for the U.S. road situation, as well, and then bring them to the U.S. market as they become ready.

“The new stereo camera will be brought to the U.S. market very quickly, but each and every function, which needs the appropriate software development, will be introduced as they become ready one at time, or few at a time, for the U.S. market.”

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