Both Honda and Toyota have been toying with laser-based Active Cruise Control systems for over a decade now, while the German luxury car makers have offered more expensive radar-based gizmos for almost as long. The premise of both is that an electronic copilot keeps an eye on the road ahead maintaining a safe distance from the car in front, even slamming the brakes at the last moment in an emergency should the driver fail to react.
Now, Subaru has come up with a third system, which while not quite as advanced as KITT, is as close as we've ever seen. For a premium of $3,000 a new JDM Legacy or Outback can be fitted with twin cameras, one on each side of the rear view mirror, that use human like stereoscopic vision to judge distances and generally keep tabs on the driver. Not only does "EyeSight", as the system is called, can help you keep your distance on the highway (which would have been handy for the McRae convoy on Sunday) and in stop start traffic, but also incorporates a lane departure warning system, a wake up call should everyone pull away from the lights but you (put your iPhone down), and even keeps an eye out for pedestrians while you look for that illusive break in traffic at a T-junction. Best of all, EyeSight will stop you driving through your own garage door because you selected Drive instead of Reverse – a shockingly common occurrence according to Subaru.
Click through to Subaru's Japanese website to see a cool Flash presentation and video of the system in action. First click "Pick Up – EyeSight" then the engine start button, then (once the Intro finishes) EyeSight TECHNOLOGY Movie.
Three thousand bucks may sound like a lot of money, but how much do garages charge to repair even a minor fender bender these days?