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Test Shows Pedestrian Systems Not as Effective as Claimed

The American Automobile Association (AAA) released the results of a study involving four popular cars equipped with pedestrian detection, and the numbers are dismal, to say the least.

The AAA-initiated research shows that automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems designed to detect pedestrians performed inconsistently, and were completely ineffective at night when they were needed most.

For the study, AAA tested four cars: a 2019 Chevrolet Malibu, 2019 Honda Accord, 2019 Toyota Camry, and 2019 Tesla Model 3. The first three cars are available locally.

AAA found that the respective pedestrian detection systems–Chevrolet’s Front Pedestrian Braking, Honda’s Honda Sensing, Toyota’s Safety Sense, and Tesla’s AEB–were ‘significantly challenged’ in the different test scenarios they were tested in using adult and child-sized dummy pedestrians.

“Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise, proving how important the safety impact of these systems could be when further developed,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “But, our research found that current systems are far from perfect and still require an engaged driver behind the wheel.”

The inability of the four systems to detect pedestrians when the sun goes down proves to be the most controversial result of all, as nighttime is when most pedestrian fatalities occur, according to numerous studies.

Aside from time of day, AAA also cites vehicle speed as a major contributing factor to pedestrian fatalities.

“A pedestrian hit by a vehicle traveling at 20 mph (32 kph) has an 18 percent risk of severe injury or death,” according to the AAA. “Increase that by just 10 mph to 30 mph (16 kph to 48 kph) and the risk more than doubles to 47 percent.”

“AAA’s latest study found that speed impacted system performance as well, with results varying between testing performed at 20 mph and 30 mph (32 kph and 48 kph),” AAA added.

AAA worries that the way carmakers advertise these features, drivers may be left with the impression that they are more effective than real-world testing shows.

“It’s going to be a little while before the effectiveness of the system catches up with the marketing, unfortunately,” said Brannon.

You may view the AAA study here.

Image by Masashi Wakui from Pixabay
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