The company is developing it's next-gen EyeSight system with a crucial goal in mind.
Over the past decade, driving assists and various levels of autonomy have exploded. One of the most prolific systems is the camera-based Tesla Vision, but Subaru has been backing camera-based tech ever since it introduced EyeSight. While EyeSight - a camera-based system of driver assists now found on almost all Subaru's globally - has performed admirably, the brand has loftier ambitions for future iterations of the system, aiming for zero traffic fatalities in a Subaru vehicle by 2030.
While Tesla has been going all-in on camera-based systems, eschewing radar in older cars and focusing solely on Tesla Vision, the tech is not without its problems. Subaru is aware of this, which is why it's developing the next-gen EyeSight using unique technologies and refusing to label it with predictive terms until it is fully functional in the next generation of cars like the Subaru Forester.
Speaking to Automotive News, Eiji Shibata, Subaru Lab's director and senior program manager for EyeSight explained, "Subaru's approach is how to reduce traffic accident fatalities to zero as soon as possible rather than focusing on autonomous driving." That's why Subaru isn't assigning a label to its systems under the SAE autonomy standards. For the record, Tesla's Full Self-Driving systems are only Level 2+, while a select few manufacturers globally like Honda and Mercedes-Benz have been the only brands to effectively produce something capable of being called Level 3. Subaru doesn't care for labels and is focusing on the outcome of zero casualties.
The next-gen EyeSight system is being developed at the Subaru Lab's new artificial intelligence development center in downtown Tokyo, Japan. And in an incredibly busy city with all kinds of traffic, pedestrians, and cyclists, there really isn't a better place to test the system to its limits.
Aiming for a 2025 release date, the new EyeSight will still rely on cameras but will use advanced artificial intelligence to help circumvent some of the issues currently facing such systems. Among these is the ability to judge road markings when covered by blankets of snow, which is where AI and machine learning comes into play.
There are no plans for LiDAR or Radar for this system as directors at the Subaru Lab maintain the stereo cameras triangulating and building 3D models work perfectly, just the AI needs improvement.
"The use of [the] stereo camera has a huge advantage in connection with AI," said Toru Saito, deputy director of Subaru Lab. "Other carmakers pursue a multi-solution approach and use radars, monocular cameras, and lidar. But stereo cameras are capable of doing what these three technologies can do individually."
Statistically, improving the AI in EyeSight will have to address parking dangers and autonomous parking tech. Subaru notes that one-third of accidents occur here, so that will be a huge focus for 2025. The EyeSight system has been around for nearly 14 years and has quietly become a smashing success considering 91% of Subarus sold have the tech now. Just a few days ago, Subaru announced that more than five million Subarus globally had been sold with EyeSight, the technology that first debuted in 2008 before making its way stateside in 2013.
Since then, the brand attributes 63 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awards to the tech, which as of July 2022 was more than any other brand in the US.