More and more pedestrians are being killed on America's roads. Luckily, many new cars have technology specifically built in to prevent these deaths. But AAA's latest research found that pedestrian detection systems don"t work in all scenarios, all the time.
AAA recently tested four vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking systems with pedestrian detection systems to evaluate their performance in a number of driving scenarios. The study simulated real-world scenarios to determine the effectiveness of automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
Not only did the systems perform inconsistently, they were completely ineffective at night. A surprising result, considering the majority of pedestrian deaths – 75% – occur after dark.
The systems were also challenged by simulated scenarios like a car turning right into the path of an adult or a child darting out from between two parked cars. In these scenarios, the systems did not react at all to the adult in the path of the car turning right and avoided the child just 1 in 10 times.
AAA regularly conducts research on emerging vehicle technologies, like lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control, to help educate consumers on the limitations of these systems but also to provide insight to the automotive industry on how functionality may be improved.
"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 only a backup and are far from perfect, which means you must stay engaged when behind the wheel."
Until these systems are proven to perform consistently – especially pedestrian detection systems – during the day and at night and in a range of situations, AAA recommends drivers always:
It is a driver's responsibility to yield to pedestrians, but those traveling by foot should be diligent as well. Pedestrians should also use caution by staying on sidewalks and using crosswalks as often as possible. Always obey traffic signals, look both ways before crossing the street and do not walk and text.