The 2019 Subaru Forester on display at the New York International Auto ShowImage: monica chin/mashableBy Monica Chin2018-03-29 21:40:16 UTC
Look out, Apple. Subaru’s coming.
The Japanese automaker unveiled its new 2019 Subaru Forester at the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday. It’s largely similar to previous Foresters, but there’s one major upgrade: It now has a facial recognition feature.
Okay, so it’s not quite as sophisticated as the iPhone X’s Face ID, which has a 1-in-1 million false acceptance rate and opens the phone like a password. But Subaru’s DriverFocus software, which makes its global debut in the 2019 Forester, still has some cool perks.
Don’t forget your keys, though, because the feature won’t open the car or start it for you. The so-called DriverFocus software uses infrared sensors to recognize who is driving and how they’re feeling. You can introduce it to up to five people, and program in their preferences for seat positioning, mirrors, temperature, and even radio stations.
The DriverFocus software lives atop the 2019 Subaru Focus’ dashboard. The red dot is the camera.Image: monica chin/mashableSo if you like to drive with the heat on while blasting classic rock, DriverFocus will set those things in place as soon as you turn on the car. If your husband wants the A/C and country music, the car will recognize him and tailor the radio and air accordingly. (While Apple promises there’s a 1 in a million chance Face ID will confuse you for someone else, Subaru didn’t reveal its accuracy rate.)
It also gives you a personal greeting when you get in, which is cute.
DriverFocus uses the same infrared technology to check if you’re distracted or asleep. If it sees you looking away from the road for more than three seconds it’ll beep — and if it beeps several times with no response, the car will slow to a stop.
If a driver is unresponsive for too long, DriverFocus sends an SOS signal to a Subaru call center, which attempts to contact the driver (and then, emergency services). The EyeSight cameras are on each side of this panel.Image: monica chin/mashable”Subaru has a really big focus on safety,” Dominick Infante, Subaru’s national manager of product communications, told me. “This is the next thing we can do in terms of keeping drivers safe.”
While some luxury automakers, like Lexus and Cadillac, have released facial recognition systems, Infante noted DriverFocus is the only system you can get below $70,000 (this car’s price hasn’t yet been revealed, but Foresters tend to range from $20,000 to $40,000). “We’re just more affordable,” Infante said.
The 2019 Subaru Forester from the front.Image: monica chin/mashableThis isn’t Subaru’s first foray into sensory technology. The company’s EyeSight system, also featured in the 2019 Forester, debuted in 2012. That system included pre-collision breaking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-departure warnings.
In an age where consumers expect their phones and speakers to recognize them, it’s only natural that a car should be the next step.