Tech Feature: 2013 Honda Accord’s LaneWatch
Camera in the passenger-side mirror shows a wide-angle view of the driver’s blind spot on an in-dash display.
According to a recent survey commissioned by Ford, almost six in 10 respondents blame blind spots for accidents or near collisions. So it’s easy to see why blind-spot warning systems have proliferated on vehicles in recent years. The LaneWatch feature on the all-new 2013 Honda Accord goes a step further by allowing drivers to better see what’s in their passenger-side blind spot before switching lanes.
LaneWatch uses a camera embedded in the passenger-side mirror to show a wide-angle view of the adjacent road on an 8-inch display in the dash. The camera image automatically appears when the right-turn signal is activated; it can be activated manually by pressing a button on the end of the turn-signal stalk. Although LaneWatch provides a clear view of what’s in your passenger-side blind spot and beyond, it has a few disadvantages compared with a typical blind-spot warning system.
It doesn’t provide an audible warning or a visual alert when an object is detected. Instead it relies on the driver paying attention to the in-dash monitor, the side mirror or both. Of course, Honda notes, “Drivers are encouraged to visually confirm roadway conditions prior to changing lanes.” And LaneWatch works only for the passenger side; there’s no camera in the driver-side mirror, although it does have a convex strip on the outer edge that gives a wide-angle view.
Honda says that the typical field of view for a side mirror is approximately 18 to 22 degrees and that the field-of-view provided by LaneWatch is approximately 80 degrees, or about four times greater. LaneWatch also has three “reference lines” that approximate the length of the host car so that the driver can judge how much room he has to change lanes.
LaneWatch comes standard on the Accord EX, EX-L sedan and EX-L Coupe. For models equipped with navigation, when a maneuver prompt and LaneWatch are both in use, the image changes to a split-screen view so that LaneWatch and turn information can be displayed simultaneously. LaneWatch can be switched on or off by the driver, and the three on-screen reference lines can also be deactivated.
Check out the video of LaneWatch in action, below, to decide for yourself whether the feature is better than a traditional blind-sport warning system.
The real problem is that drivers no longer take the responsibility of operating their motor vehicles on public highways seriously. They are too busy messing with their texting, or nav systems, or I-pods, or eating or chatting to safely obey the laws. They know there is not enforcement and that even if they are caught the penalties are so lax and worthless that many just don't care even if they are ticketed.
In many countries you would lose your driving priveleges and your auto confiscated for doing the things that drivers do here every day. Remember that these are public roads and driving is a privelege not a right. Manufacturers shouldn't be forced to integrate safety devices to make up for careless driving -(which is still a ticketable offense).
They are also most likely ignorant to how your side view mirrors should be adjusted. I drive many different types of vehicles on a regular basis and very few actually have a blind spots if the mirrors are adjusted correctly. You should not be looking at the side of your vehicle in them, if you are, you do not have them angled out far enough. Side view mirrors are not for viewing what is behind you but for what is beside you.
Maybe instead of adding all of this tech they should just print how to properly adjust the mirrors to use them the way they are intended to be used. A simple "Turn mirrors out until you can no longer see your own vehicle" would do the trick.
Agreed, that current drivers are more distracted/negligent and under-trained than ever... if you ride a bike or drive a small car, you've got a daily bucketful of "oblivious driver" stories.
But the subject here is car & device design. Personally, I hate tiny controls and displays inside the cabin; they're usually badly lit or sun-shielded, and my fiftiesh eyes take too damned long too change focal depth (and my bifocals are rarely sharp - time for trifocals?).
Newer cars and SUVs do have huge blind spots - just try to see the driver's head or mirror from either rear quarter; glassy look, but a lot of black masking and steel pillars inside. Reflective "privacy" glass doesn't help connect the driver to the surroundings, either.
Whatever happened to the clean, squared-up glassy greenhouse look? Does "safety" need to block situational awareness? Even wagons/SUVs have the goofy upswept window beltline and drooping roofline now. Minis are are about as close as you can get to the Mitsu Lancer and Volvo wagons that you could see out of.
The new technology is nice, I'll admit, but as I said there's a simple low-tech means to accomplish the same thing.
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