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Systems that Detect Pedestrians Cannot Cover for Drivers that are Distracted

October 15, 2019

UNITED STATES – According to an online article at, new vehicles are being equipped with features that can detect the presence of pedestrians and brake in certain circumstances to avoid a collision.  However, it appears from research that improvements in these systems are needed before sensors and radar can replace drivers, per the American Automobile Association (AAA).

According to a spokesman from AAA, “[a]utomakers have a difficult task - to develop technology that can consistently recognize pedestrians and react accordingly. The problem is that pedestrians come in all shapes and sizes. They move at different speeds, and they may enter and exit the road in unpredictable ways. That’s why AAA conducted independent research to see how these systems perform.”

Using sophisticated mannequins posing as your average pedestrian, AAA conducted a test on four vehicles on a closed course to determine how pedestrian detection systems work in a number of real-world scenarios.  The results were alarming.  At twenty miles per hour, a crash with a pedestrian during the daytime hours was avoided by just 40%.  At 30 miles per hour, only one test automobile avoided a crash with a pedestrian in two out of five runs.

As conditions changed, the systems experienced increasing struggles.  For example, when a vehicle was going at twenty miles per hour, a crash with a child who darted out from between two vehicles occurred nearly 90% of the time. At 30 miles per hour, none of the vehicles equipped with detection systems were able to avoid a crash.  As the vehicles took a right turn, all of them hit an adult pedestrian who was going across the roadway at an intersection. 

AAA also engaged in research pertaining to the presences of more than one pedestrian.  When the subject vehicle was approaching two adults at twenty miles per hour, a crash occurred about 80% of the time.  At 30 miles per hour, only one automobile was able to avoid a crash on one of the five runs.

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Category: Auto Accidents

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