Monday, March 27

At night all pedestrians are gray: the crash prevention system fails when it is most needed

Driving aids and automation systems are in the spotlight for the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). Those responsible for road safety in the United States published a report in which they questioned the effectiveness of driving aid systems, even claiming that manufacturers provided “misleading messages” to buyers. A good example is the pedestrian detection system.

In line with the report already published a few weeks ago, IIHS has tested the pedestrian detection systems of eight small SUVs. The objective was to see how the night affected them and, therefore, if they could be just as effective when the light fell. In addition, the most effective technologies to guarantee the safety of pedestrians have been evaluated.

The pedestrian detection system is a driving and safety aid that activate emergency braking when he understands that we are facing an imminent collision with a pedestrian. The first objective is to prevent the vehicle from running over the pedestrian and, if this is not possible, to limit the damage caused by the collision.

To implement this security system, manufacturers use cameras and radars. One possibility is that the vehicle is equipped with a dedicated camera, a radar, two cameras or a combination of a radar and a camera. Whether they opt for one configuration or another, nine out of ten vehicles that undergo IIHS crash tests have pedestrian detection linked to emergency braking.

Least effective when most important

For the tests, examinations have been carried out in broad daylight, on well-lit roads and on poorly lit roads. The results have shown that pedestrian detection reduces accidents by 27% compared to vehicles that do not have it equipped and that the percentage increases to 30% when we talk about accidents with serious injuries.

But the results also show a very worrying fact: when the lighting is poor, there is no difference between vehicles that include pedestrian detection in their emergency braking or those that do not. And, among them, the configuration chosen by the manufacturer is also not decisive.

In the results that you can see above, it is verified how the effectiveness of this security system falls a lot when the light is insufficient. From IIHS they assure that none of the systems used is clearly superior to the others. In fact, although the Toyota CH-R and the Ford Bronco Sport are the ones that obtain the best results with their camera-radar combo, other vehicles such as the Honda CR-V, the Volvo XC40 or the Hyundai Venue obtain worse data despite riding the same system.

In fact, vehicles that only equip cameras, such as the Chevrolet Trailblazer or the Subaru Forester, achieve a similar effectiveness to the three models mentioned above. Lastly, the one that obtains more consistent results between well and poorly lit roads is the Volkswagen Taigo, the only SUV that only mounts a radar system.

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It is shown that camera and radar is the most complete optionalthough not decisive. In good light, the camera is the best equipment and, when it drops, the radar compensates for the lack of light received by the system. However, IIHS points out that three out of four collisions with serious injuries occur when the road is poorly lit, so pedestrian detection remains very ineffective in the worst accidents.

Furthermore, among his conclusions They also highlight that these systems have similar percentages of effectiveness even for roads limited to 50 mph (more than 80 km/h). Both at higher speeds and in cases where vehicles are turning, the pedestrian detection system is not effective.

Photo | Ari Dinar