What are the best driver monitoring systems? The DriverFocus safety system in the 2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Outback, and 2022 Legacy has come under fire recently from Consumer Reports, and a new report from AAA says it’s one of the best systems available today, beating Tesla and Hyundai systems.
The new report from AAA says the best driver monitoring systems that can detect if a driver is tired or not paying attention, are camera-based like Subaru’s DriverFocus in the 2022 Forester compact SUV, 2022 Outback midsize SUV, and 2022 Legacy sedan.
Subaru DriverFocus uses its EyeSight cameras located on the inside of the windshield to detect if a driver shows signs of distraction, drowsiness at the wheel, driver fatigue, or driver distraction signs.
AAA says in their testing of the Subaru Forester, Cadillac Escalade, the Hyundai Santa Fe, and the Tesla Model 3, both Subaru and Cadillac use driver-facing infrared cameras, a direct system, to monitor drivers' attention, while Tesla and Hyundai use sensors on the steering wheel, an indirect system.
Camera-based systems are the best
In AAA testing, the Subaru and Cadillac systems using the front-facing cameras are the best, and on average alert drivers about 50 seconds faster than the indirect systems, used in Tesla and Hyundai. In scenarios when drivers are looking away from the road and have their hands off the steering wheel, the Hyundai Santa Fe Highway Driver Assist mode performed the worst, according to AAA.
"The camera-based system is actually looking at the driver's behavior and not simply looking for input," AAA Director for Automotive Engineering Greg Brannon said. "The indirect system simply requires that you turn on the steering wheel once every so often and has nothing to do with whether or not that driver is paying attention."
The driver monitoring systems are not without flaws
AAA says both systems still need to do a better job at preventing abuse and misuse. None of the vehicles disabled semiautonomous features or forced drivers to pay attention after multiple alerts. All the safety systems are easy for the driver to cheat with, Brannon said.
The Subaru DriverFocus can distinguish between family members driving the vehicle with facial recognition using five parameters; the relation between eyes, nose, mouth, and chin–and then it automatically adjusts the driver's seat and mirrors to suit that driver. Subaru says that the infra-red camera can even decipher identities when wearing sunglasses.
AAA says the Subaru DriverFocus camera-based safety technology used in the 2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Outback, and 2022 Legacy is the best driver monitoring technology available today, ahead of the Tesla and Hyundai indirect systems.
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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