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Subaru Driver Monitoring System puts eyes on the driver

Is your car watching you? The Subaru Driver Monitoring System keeps an eye on the driver to make sure they're not dozing off behind the wheel.

4 months ago
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Geoff Quattromani
Tech Contributor

Sensors and cameras that monitor the road ahead are standard on most cars in one way or another today.

A camera that monitors the driver though, is a little surprising.

Initially – and judging by the name of the system – you’d think it would be a nuisance. But there’s just enough convenience element makes it all worthwhile. 

Subaru Driver Monitoring System puts eyes on the driver
Subaru DMS sensors are in the visor above the instrument display

The Subaru Driver Monitoring System (DMS) uses infrared LED cameras mounted in the infotainment cowling to pay attention to you.

Firstly, you’re able to set up a profile in the car. This means the DMS can recognise your face when you get in the car and adjust the seat, mirrors, air-conditioning and even the instrument cluster. For anyone who shares a car, the benefits here save you time and frustration immediately.

The system displays an on-screen greeting while making the adjustments, almost like your barista remembering your coffee order and starting to make it as soon as he sees you.

Although some brands do something similar with keys, remembering a set of presets based on which key is used to unlock, the Subaru DMS can handle up to five drivers.

For competitive families, you’ll be able to look at the driving habits of those registered on the DMS. Their average fuel economy could give you a good idea whether children kids were a bit heavy on the throttle when they borrowed the car last night.

It could also just be finally show people you’re the most economical driver in the household.

With that said, the DMS has also been designed with safety in mind. It’s a buddy in the passenger seat for the road trip, but doesn’t fall asleep.

Subaru Driver Monitoring System puts eyes on the driver

The sensors are able to use eye-tracking to see if you’re doing some extended blinking or taking your eyes off the road too much. You’ll receive alerts on the multi-function display and meter display if you appear drowsy with audible notifications.

If you’re just too distracted behind the wheel, looking at the kids in the back seat, looking for your favourite playlist for too long, or touching the phone you’ll receive an amber alert to keep your eyes on the road. 

The other benefit of these alerts is for your passengers, offering a valuable reminder to stop and change drivers on a road trip.

Subaru Driver Monitoring System puts eyes on the driver

There are some minor issues, however. The infrared LED camera works best when your entire face is exposed, without sunglasses or a face mask. T

he system should not be relied upon to let you know when you’re tired, and you should know yourself to take a break before a system suggests it. The DMS can be switched off too – which unless it doesn’t actually work, arguably shouldn’t be permitted.

This technology should exist in all new cars. The safety measures are reason enough, the convenience is just the icing on the cake. 

The Subaru Driver Monitoring System is standard in 2019 Subaru Forester 2.5i-L AWD, Forester 2.5i Premium AWD and Forester 2.5i-S AWD variants. 


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