Collision mitigation systems earn their keep
Forward collision warning systems alert you if you get too close too quickly to the car in front, or if the other guy slows down suddenly and you didn’t notice. If the car hits the brakes for you as well to stop, or at least lessen the impact, that’s a collision mitigation system. It’s useful, it works well, and companies such as GM that pioneered camera-based forward collision warning can do that and lane departure warning for less than $300. Forward collision warning is part collision mitigation braking, which is typically part ofadaptive cruise control, as on the 2015 Acura ILX shown above.
If you have kids (or yourself) who look down too long texting, or if someone stares off into space for too long, forward collision warning and/or collision mitigation systems will save you from rear-ending another car. The warning is a flashing indicator in the instrument panel, LEDs at the base of the windshield, or a flashing warning in the HUD, accompanied by a warning tone. You cannot miss it, even if you’re looking away from windshield.
Inside rear view mirror is also a rear camera displayWhat people ought to know: Collision mitigation systems work, as does the simpler forward collision warning systems (warning, no braking). Some do, some don’t warn of pedestrians (if so, it may be called pedestrian safety). The warning and mitigation is mostly with the car in front. US laws don’t let a car strobe the brake lamps to warn a car approaching too fast from behind (in Europe it’s okay). Given the cost, it’s well worth having.
If you’re just one person in a convertible, you’ve got an unobstructed view behind when you glance at the mirror. Not so with an SUV full of people and a sloping rear roofline. Enter the high-mounted camera that displays the view on the inside mirror. Tap a button, you see the traditional glass mirror view; tap it again, you see the view from the rear camera on an LCD hidden beneath the mirror’s surface. Because the rear camera is about 10 feet farther back, you really want a car with blind spot detection as well. But it’s a view unobstructed by people, pillars, and rooflines. (Not to mention the horizontally split rear window on cars such as Toyota Prius.)
This is a new technology that Nissan has used in racing applications, followed either this year or 2016 with availability on some passenger vehicles. Nissan calls it the smart rear view camera / mirror. So far it’s just one mirror, but microprocessors are fast enough now to stitch a wide-angle image together from three cameras.