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Pedestrian Avoidance Technology Leaves A Lot To Be Desired


Today’s cars advertise the number and extent of technological safety features that they have. Whether included in the base price, or as upgrades, cars can almost avoid crashes on their own, even when the driver isn’t paying attention.

Pedestrian Avoidance Technology

But much of that technology has to do with avoiding collisions with other cars. What about collisions with pedestrians? There isn’t near as much publicity about pedestrian accident avoidance technology, and most car manufacturers barely give these features a mention when trying to tout the benefits of buying their cars.

How the Technology Works

Pedestrian avoidance technology is difficult—more so than other types of crash avoidance systems. Most systems use radar or sound waves or a combination of both and can easily identify a car coming in a given direction, or identify a painted line on the highway. But recognizing a human (or an animal) is much more difficult for artificial intelligence.

Studies Show Unreliability

Because of this, pedestrian avoidance technology isn’t as developed, or as reliable, as the technology used to avoid car on car collisions. According to one study conducted by AAA, a collision was avoided with a pedestrian in only about 40% of the times tested—and that was at a relatively low speed of 20mph, and in clear, broad daylight.

When there were multiple pedestrians involved, the technology had an even poorer success rate. Only 20% of accidents were avoided by the systems, when there was more than one pedestrian in the area.

The technology was practically useless when the pedestrians were kids. According to the experiment and the study, only 10% of collisions were avoided with kids (obviously, real kids weren’t used in the experiment).

But when the car was traveling at 30mph, the technology couldn’t avoid any accident at all—the kids were hit in every case, regardless of the technology.

Nighttime Conditions

When it comes to pedestrians the technology won’t help you at night. The study found that the systems were totally ineffective at night. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety went so far as to say that the systems “made no difference” in nighttime conditions.

Most of these studies were from a wide range of manufacturers, and differing price points, so a more expensive car won’t get you better or more reliable technology to avoid pedestrian accidents.

For what it’s worth given the abysmal nighttime test results, systems that combined cameras and radars together, tended to have better results. Cars with radar only were good in that radar doesn’t rely on light, so effectiveness was the same in day or night conditions—but radar-only cars overall had the worst test results no matter the lighting conditions.

Despite all of this, most do recommend looking for a car that does have pedestrian avoidance technology. The best advice is to use the technology as an aid—not to completely rely on the technology to avoid pedestrian accidents.

Contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian if you are injured in any kind of car accident. Schedule a consultation today.


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