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Blind Spot Monitor: In Other Words

Withan Lemmon

This system uses radar sensors in the rear fenders to detect objects in the vehicle’s blind spots, slightly behind and to the sides in adjacent lanes. The system is designed to help prevent side-swipe accidents where a driver hits another car he doesn’t see when changing lanes, or forces someone off the road, or loses control when he has to suddenly jerk back into his lane.

The systems typically turn their warning indicators on for a brief time when the vehicle is turned on, but don’t operate until about 6 to 20 MPH. They are not designed to warn of non-moving objects, like guard rails. Some more sophisticated systems can extend their range to the rear if a trailer is connected.

The most confusing aspect of this feature is that almost every single car maker uses a different name for it. Below is a list of the names used by each maker, and in most cases a description of how their version works and when it was first offered. Sometimes blind spot monitoring goes by different names from the same maker or even on the same vehicle! Also, the names and the ways these functions operate may change from year to year as well.

These are not the same as blind spot camera systems, such as used to be in some Honda products and are now in premium Hyundai, Kia and Genesis vehicles.

Do not depend on the blind spot monitor; look over.

Acura

Blind Spot Information System (BSI) was introduced on the MDX for the 2010 model year. An indicator light comes on at the front of the driver’s window on the interior where the side mirror attaches. The light blinks and a beeping occurs if the turn signal in the direction of the alert is activated.

Aston Martin

Blind Spot Warning (BSW).

Audi

Audi Side Assist first appears on Q7 in 2007. It was awarded a safety prize by EuroNCAP in 2010. If a vehicle is detected a light in the near housing of the side mirror comes on. Light will blink when the corresponding turn signal is activated while a vehicle is detected on that side.

Bentley

Blind Spot WarningBlind Spot Assist. 

BMW

Active Blind Spot Detection, first offered on the 2011 7 Series, or Lane Change Warning. A light is illuminated in the side view mirror. If the turn signal is activated in a direction from which an obstacle is detected, the light flashes and the steering wheel vibrates.

Bugatti

Not offered.

Buick

Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, introduced in 2008 on the Buick Lucerne. The system will first passively alert the driver to the presence of a vehicle in the blind spot or approaching it via a light on the face of the sideview mirror and will also flash the light if the corresponding turn signal is activated.

 

Chevrolet

Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, introduced in 2009 on the Tahoe and Suburban. The system will first passively alert the driver to the presence of a vehicle in the blind spot or approaching it via a light on the face of the sideview mirror and will also flash the light if the corresponding turn signal is activated.

Chrysler

Blind Spot Monitoring or Blind Spot Alert, are two names for the same sensors. Blind Spot Monitoring refers to the system that turns on a triangular light in the face of the corresponding side view mirror if an obstacle is present. The Blind Spot Alert, which can be switched on or off, will also sound a warning chime if the turn signal is activated in the direction of an obstacle to the side or approaching. The system was first offered on the 2009 Town & Country.

Dodge

Side Blind Spot Monitoring, Blind Spot Monitoring, or Blind Spot Alert, first introduced for the 2009 model year on the Grand Caravan. The system turns on a triangular light in the face of the corresponding side view mirror if an obstacle is present. The Blind Spot Alert, which can be switched on or off, will also sound a warning chime if the turn signal is activated in the direction of an obstacle to the side or approaching.

Ferrari

The vehicles with some of the largest blind spots do not offer blind spot monitoring. To paraphrase a great movie: “Whatsa behind you (or to the sides), she doesn’t a’matter!”

Fiat

Blind Spot Monitoring, only came to be offered in 2016 on the new 500X. The system illuminates a warning in the face of the side view mirror and chimes if the turn signal on that side is activated when a vehicle is detected in the blind spot.

Ford

BLIS® or Blind Spot Information System, so named because their Premier Vehicle Unit, specifically Volvo, developed it first and passed it on to the Ford brand vehicles along with the name. The system as it works on Fords only provides a static light on the face of the side view mirror, with no audible or vibrating warning or change in illumination if a turn signal is activated or a lane change begins to take place. On vehicles designed for towing, the system can be programmed through SYNC to take the trailer into account, lengthening the distance of the warning and disregarding the signals from the trailer.

Genesis

Blind Spot Detection and Lane Change Assist, has been present since the brand started operation in 2017. The system is unique in that there is a physical button to turn it on, and it remains in the previous state (on or off) when the car is started again. When a vehicle is detected in the sensor range a light on the face of the side view mirror and a warning in the heads-up display (if equipped) will be displayed. If the turn signal is activated in the same direction as a detected vehicle, the warnings blink, an alarm will sound and if equipped, the steering wheel will vibrate.

Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, is in addition to the Blind Spot Detection and Lane Change Assist, and will actively use the brakes lightly to steer the vehicle back into its lane if the driver begins a dangerous lane change. It can also hit the brakes if a driver is leaving a parallel parking place and traffic is approaching.

GMC

Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, introduced in 2009 on the Yukon. The system will first passively alert the driver to the presence of a vehicle in the blind spot or approaching it via a light on the face of the sideview mirror and will also flash the light if the corresponding turn signal is activated.

Honda

Blind Spot Information System (BSI), was introduced on the Odyssey Touring Elite for 2011. An indicator light comes on at the front of the driver’s window on the interior where the side mirror attaches. The light blinks if the turn signal in the direction of the alert is activated.

Hyundai

Blind Spot Detection and Lane Change Assist was introduced on the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe (LWD, not Sport). The system illuminates a light in the face of the side mirror which flashes in concert with a chime if the turn signal on that side is activated. Also known as Blind Spot Collision Warning.

Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, as the name implies, is a later, upgraded version that uses the brakes to nudge a driver back into the lane if a dangerous lane change is started. Blind Spot Collision Warning is included.

Infiniti

Blind Spot Warning (BSW)Blind Spot Intervention (BSI). The first, introduced on the 2011 model EX is a standard warning system, with a light at the front of the two front widows on the inside where the side mirrors attach. The light comes on to indicate a vehicle is in the blind spot. The turn signal will cause the light to flash and a chime sounds twice if a vehicle is on that side. Blind Spot Intervention, a first for any vehicle, was introduced on the 2011 Infiniti M35 and M45. In addition to the functions of BSW, if the driver still started a lane change into an occupied lane, the BSI will steer it back into its lane.

Jaguar

Blind Spot Monitor, A basic system that lights a warning symbol in the face of the side view mirror if a vehicle enters the blind spot or approaches it from that side. No enhanced warning if the turn signal is used.

Jeep

Blind Spot Monitoring, first introduced for the 2011 model year on the redesigned Grand Cherokee. The system turns on a triangular light in the face of the corresponding side view mirror if an obstacle is present. It can also sound a chime. In vehicles also equipped with Active Lane Management, the vehicle will steer back into the lane if a lane change is attempted when a vehicle is detected in the blind spot on that side. Also, Blind Spot Alert.

Karma

Blind Spot Monitoring, was added as standard equipment to the Revero GT in 2020.

Kia

Blind Spot Detection and Lane Change Assist, was first offered in 2014 on the Optima, Sorento, and Cadenza. The system is unique in that there is a physical button to turn it on, and it remains in the previous state (on or off) when the car is started again. When a vehicle is detected in the sensor range a light on the face of the side view mirror and a warning in the heads-up display (if equipped) will be displayed. If the turn signal is activated in the same direction as a detected vehicle, the warnings blink, an alarm will sound and if equipped, the steering wheel will vibrate.

Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, is in addition to the Blind Spot Detection and Lane Change Assist, and will actively use the brakes lightly to steer the vehicle back into its lane if the driver begins a dangerous lane change. It can also hit the brakes if a driver is leaving a parallel parking place and traffic is approaching. It is offered on some newer Kias, such as the 2022 Carnival.

Lamborghini

Blind Spot Assistant, optional on the Urus, only, since its introduction as a 2019 model.

Land Rover

Blind Spot Monitoring (aka Blind Spot Monitor), first offered on the Range Rover in 2010, lights a warning symbol in the face of the side view mirror (1) on the side an obstacle endangers a potential lane change. If the turn signal is activated the light flashes. If the system isn’t active, a smaller light in the mirror turns on (2). Blind Spot Assist, in addition, this also actively steers the vehicle back into its lane.

Lexus

Blind Spot Monitor lights pictograms in the faces of the side view mirrors to indicate an obstacle. If the turn signal is activated, the light flashes. First appears in model year 2013 on most Lexus vehicles.

Lincoln

BLIS® or Blind Spot Information System, so named because their Premier Vehicle Unit, specifically Volvo, developed it first and passed it on to the Lincoln vehicles along with the name. The system provides a static light on the face of the side view mirror, with no audible or vibrating warning or change in illumination if a turn signal is activated or a lane change begins to take place. On vehicles designed for towing, the system can be programmed through SYNC to take the trailer into account, lengthening the distance of the warning and disregarding the signals from the trailer.

Lotus

Does not offer a this time.

Mazda

BSM or Blind Spot Monitoring, first offered on the new CX-9 Grand Touring in 2008. When an obstacle is detected, a light illuminates on side mirror housing on that side. If the turn signal on that side is activated, a beeping sound is activated to alert the driver to the warning.

Mercedes

Blind Spot Assist, was introduced on the E-Class, S-Class and CL-Class for the 2010 model year. It lights a warning on the face of the corresponding side view mirror which flashes and is accompanied by two chimes if a turn signal is activated in that direction. A year later, Active Blind Spot Assist, on the S-Class, utilizes an individual brake to nudge the vehicle back into its lane.

MINI

Doesn’t offer.

Mitsubishi

Blind Spot Warning with Lane Change Assist, is first offered in the U.S. on the Outlander for the 2017 model year. A light in the face of the side view mirror lights up on the side that an obstacle is detected in the blind spot. It flashes and beeps if the turn signal 

Nissan

Blind Spot Warning, first offered on the now defunct 2011 Nissan Quest, lights a warning in the rear view mirror on the side a vehicle is detected, which flashes and sounds a chime if the corresponding turn signal is used.

Porsche

Lane Change Assist (LCA), first offered on the 2011 Cayenne. A vertical series of LED lights in the near edge of the side mirror housing turns on when a vehicle is detected. It flashes if the corresponding turn signal is active. Later versions are in the face of the mirror and feature yellow, rectangular lights.

Ram

Side Blind Spot Monitoring, Blind Spot Monitoring, or Blind Spot Alert. The system turns on a triangular light in the face of the corresponding side view mirror if an obstacle is present. The Blind Spot Alert, which can be switched on or off, will also sound a warning chime if the turn signal is activated in the direction of an obstacle to the side or approaching.

Rivian

Blind Spot Warning, standard on both their premier vehicles going on sale as 2022 models.

Rolls-Royce

Active Blind Spot Detection or Lane Change Warning. A light is illuminated in the side view mirror. If the turn signal is activated in a direction from which an obstacle is detected, the light flashes and the steering wheel vibrates.

Subaru

Blind Spot Detection, Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist, Blind Spot Detection first offered on the 2015 Legacy and Outback, illuminates a light in the housing of the side view mirror nearest the driver on the side an obstacle is detected. The light flashes if the corresponding turn signal is active.

Tesla

Blind Spot Collision Warning, zooms in on a digital picture of the Tesla on the central touchscreen and displays warning lines in white, yellow or red to show proximity with an obstacle. A warning chime can be programmed to play.

Toyota

Blind Spot Monitor, first introduced on the 2012 Camry, lights a symbol in the face of the side view mirror on the side of the car where an obstacle is present or moving towards. The symbol flashes if the corresponding turn signal is activated.

Volkswagen

Blind Spot Monitoring or Blind Spot Monitor, it was first offered on the Routan, a badge-engineered Chrysler minivan sold under the VW name. A yellow warning symbol lights in the face of the side mirror on the side an obstacle is detected. It flashes if the turn signal on that side is active. Side Assist is sometimes used as a synonym, when automatic lane change is included. Side Assist, a later version can counter-steer back into the lane if a collision is imminent.

Volvo

BLIS® or Blind Spot Information System was introduced on the 2007 in the redesigned S80, making it one of the first systems of its kind. Unlike other, later systems it used digital video cameras mounted in the side mirror housings instead of radar. When a vehicle enters the blind spot the system illuminates a light in front of the corresponding front window near where the side mirror mounts. Later systems go by the same name, but use radar and the warning has moved to the face of the mirror. The newer system flashes the warning if the turn signal is used on the side of a detected obstacle.

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