Helping drivers spot people in order to prevent or lessen the severity of collisions is the goal of automatic emergency braking systems with pedestrian detection, but new tests show that those systems consistently under perform and in some cases fail completely, like at night.
Those are the highlights of a study released on Thursday by the AAA automotive group that found that pedestrian detection systems didn’t work when they were needed most. For example, in a series of simulated scenarios, when a child darted out from between two parked cars in front of a vehicle traveling at 20 mph, a collision occurred 89% of the time. And when an adult crossed in front of a vehicle traveling at night, none of the systems reacted in enough time to avoid a crash.
In a series of simulated scenarios, when a child darted out from between two parked cars in front of a vehicle traveling at 20 mph, a collision occurred 89% of the time.
The group said technology that warns drivers of potential collisions with people was essential, given that the number who die on the roads each year has steadily grown since 2010. On average, it noted, a pedestrian is killed every 88 minutes on U.S. streets, and most fatal crashes -- about 75% -- occur after dark.
“Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise, proving how important the safety impact of these systems could be when further developed,” Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering and industry relations, said in a statement. “But, our research found that current systems are far from perfect and still require an engaged driver behind the wheel.”