Approximately forty percent of the thousands of pedestrians that die every year and 25% of the severe pedestrian injuries could be avoided if cars had pedestrian detection systems with automatic braking, says Autoliv.
Approximately half of the fatally and one third of the severely injured pedestrians are visible to the driver prior to impact but the driver does not brake or only brakes marginally, according to German accident data (GIDAS). Consequently, a pedestrian detection system that would autonomously activate the vehicle’s brakes one second prior to predicted impact, would have the potential to reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries.
Such a system would, according to the study, reduce the impact speed by 41% and completely eliminate 15% of pedestrian accidents. If these findings can be extended beyond German accident data, a potential reduction exists of almost 1500 pedestrian fatalities out of the total 3683 pedestrian fatalities during 2007 in the EU-14 countries according ERSO (European Road Safety Observatory).
The autonomous braking system consists of an extension of the brake assist system that would autonomously activate the vehicle’s brakes when a signal is provided by a sensor system. Such a sensor could be based on the infrared technology that Autoliv developed for the night vision system of the new BMW 7-series. The system gives the driver a warning to provide him or her approximately four seconds to react when the pedestrian is at risk of being hit or is entering the risk-zone.