According to The Asahi Shimbun, drivers of Subaru brand cars will soon be able to sit back and relax during heavy traffic congestion in expressways and let the vehicle automatically take over the operation of accelerating, braking and handling.
Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, the president of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the manufacturer of Subaru automobiles, told The Asahi Shimbun during a June 4 interview that the Tokyo-based firm plans to put the automatic driving technology into practical use in 2017.
Yoshinaga added that FHI will also introduce technology in 2020 that will enable a car to automatically pass a slow-moving vehicle on expressways.
The new technologies are further developed versions of FHI’s EyeSight safety technology that enables vehicles to automatically detect cars running in front of them. The technology uses cameras to monitor traffic lanes and helps vehicles maintain a safe distance from other cars and not veer out of their own traffic lane.
Currently, EyeSight can only be used to detect vehicles at long distances. The updated technology will be able to detect cars at much shorter distances and be effective in detecting cars in traffic jams.
“I want drivers to be able to enjoy their drives to their destinations and relax on their way back home,” Yoshinaga said.
During the interview, Yoshinaga poured cold water on a possible return by Subaru to the World Rally Championship, which it quit in 2009 due to management difficulties.
Asked whether FHI would take part in the competition again, Yoshinaga was not hopeful.
“We want to return (to WRC),” he said. “But it has become impossible for us to use our cars due to changes in the rules.”
Yoshinaga also noted that FHI’s sales in North America increased 85 percent during the past five years. Asked why the sales are so bullish there, Yoshinaga said: “One reason is a boom in sport utility vehicles. Another is that people’s interests in safety, in which our cars have a great strength, have become higher.”
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