TORRANCE Calif.--“I didn’t see it coming.” This might be the first thought running through a driver’s mind after an accident caused by an object or vehicle in a driver’s blind spot. Blind spots are the leading factor in an estimated 830,000 accidents a year in America, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.Valeo Raytheon Systems has developed a system that alerts drivers to objects in their blind spots using a blink-ing icon in the side view mir-ror. The system uses short-range, multi beam radar sensors hidden in the rear bumper to scan the perimeter of the vehicle.Valeo Raytheon representative Scott Pyles gave four editors from Bobit Business Media an exclusive preview of the system, installed in a Cadillac CTS. “Our system can tell you where an object is located in a 150-degree field of view, the distance from the sensor, the direction of travel, and the relative speed of the other vehicle,” said Pyles during a test spin around Bobit’s Torrance, Calif. office. “It alerts the driver to a danger situation yet ignores other non-dangerous things such as in-frastructure or vehicles moving in the other direction.”“I thought the system was very instinctive and well-integrated. It didn't trigger any false alarms. Considering the growing popularity of thick C-pillars in vehicle styling, it should be well received by customers, especially if the price can be kept at a reasonable level,” said Ed Sanchez, the managing editor of Truck & SUV Performance. The company announced in May a contract with an unnamed Big 3 automaker. Pyles says the Valeo Raytheon system will be available in late 2006 for 2007-model vehicles.