The list of automobile manufacturers and tech companies that are allowed to test self-driving cars in California has grown to 22, as the state's Department of Motor Vehicles has given the necessary permits to Japanese carmaker Subaru.
Subaru, added to the list on Feb. 9, joins companies such as Volkswagen, Google, Tesla, Ford, and NVIDIA, among many others, which are allowed to carry out tests for self-driving cars in the state.
Subaru EyeSight Technology
After Subaru was added to the official list kept by the California DMV, there were speculations on what kind of technology the automobile manufacturer is planning to test within the state.
Subaru currently has its EyeSight technology installed in some of its vehicles, with EyeSight offering advanced driver assistance features that promote safety first and foremost. Among the features offered by EyeSight are cruise control optimization, traffic movement monitoring, lane swerving warnings, and pre-collision braking that applies full braking force upon the detection of an emergency situation.
EyeSight is currently available in the Forester, Crosstrek, Legacy, Impreza, WRX, and Outback models of Subaru, but with the approval for testing in California of self-driving technology received by the company, EyeSight could soon be expanding its presence among Subaru vehicles with upgraded features.
Subaru Joins Self-Driving Car Race
Subaru is said to be working on features that are activated while vehicles are running of speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, including the ability to automatically start and stop while stuck in a traffic jam. The company is also looking to add automatic steering around curves and lane switching, which are considered to be semi-autonomous driving features meant for highway use, by the year 2020.
It is unknown, however, on whether Subaru will be testing any of these planned features in California with the permit that it just received, or whether the company will be focusing on another new feature entirely.
Fuji Heavy Industries, the parent company of Subaru which is in the process of changing its name to Subaru Corporation, previously hinted that it was moving forward with the development of self-driving cars when it announced last year that all of the next-generation models of Subaru will be on the same design platform. The common platform, which will cover all sedans, crossovers, gas-powered, and all-electric vehicles, will help in the reduction of costs related to engineering and manufacturing, and will also aid in the reduction of vibration and noise while improving comfort and stability.
Fuji Heavy Industries then added that the improvements that will be brought about by the common design platform was necessary so that the necessary straight line stability for self-driving cars would be achieved.
Self-Driving Car News
According to the California DMV, the company that has shown the most progress in the development of self-driving cars is Google's Waymo unit, with the division's autonomous vehicle only having 0.2 disengagements for every 1,000 miles driven last year. A disengagement is when a driver needed to take over operations of a self-driving car.
Ford, another company allowed to test self-driving cars in California, recently made a $1 billion investment in startup Argo AI. Uber, meanwhile, had its self-driving car testing booted out of the state late last year.