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Car torque: The Subarus that see

The Subarus that see

A driver assistance system like Subaru’s new EyeSight system automatically keeps you the correct distance from the car in front, provides an alert if you stray out of your lane on the motorway, warns you of an impending collision, even takes over and stops the car completely to prevent nose-to-tail accidents in the city.

This kind of technology is not new. But it’s all in the execution.

Highly effective system

The Subaru EyeSight system is now fitted to top-specification Legacy and Outback models. It achieves the above and much more – not through radar or laser technology, but with a pair of forward-facing cameras that “see” in three dimensions like a person and analyse the road and traffic conditions ahead.

True, the size of the cameras does make EyeSight look a little clumsy. But after a brief demonstration this week in both controlled conditions – where it stopped the car automatically from 30km/h and completely avoided a nose-to-tail collision – and out on the road, EyeSight presents itself as a highly effective system.

It is fitted to the new Legacy GT and X models, as well as the Outback 3.6R Premium wagon.

BMW heads away

Retiring BMW NZ managing director Mark Gilbert will be missed by motoring media. Mr Gilbert could always be relied on for forward-thinking comment on the local industry and, when required, an entertaining soundbite.

A passionate and genuine proponent of BMW’s EfficientDynamics technology, he still had enough petrol in his veins to pick the right company car: more often than not, the managing director’s parking space contained something large with a V8 engine; another reason he was a popular figure with the media.

The chatter now regards who will replace Mr Gilbert. If anybody. For years, he has dismissed rumours that BMW NZ will eventually be annexed into the marque’s Australian operation.

With his departure, BMW New Zealand has announced that a permanent replacement is indeed being sought – but until then, the local distributorship will be overseen by Phil Horton, BMW Australia managing director.

Tomtom finds its way to Android

In marketing terms the timing couldn’t be better. Right in the middle of the furore over Apple’s flawed iOS 6 mapping software, sat-nav specialist TomTom has announced its first application for the Android operating system. 

TomTom already produces what is arguably the best sat-nav application for Apple iPhone and iPad.

The main features of that version (and indeed TomTom’s dedicated portable sat-nav devices) are carried over to the Android product available through the Google Play store: off-line maps (so you do not need a data connection), live traffic monitoring and free map updates. 

One limiting factor has emerged, however. The TomTom app only supports screen resolutions of 800x480 or 854x480, meaning that some of the latest high-definition phones are not supported.

The company says the product will be tailored to more devices “on an ongoing basis”.

More by David Linklater

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