Study finds that car system used to detect pedestrians didn’t work


TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A study from AAA found that the system in cars that is meant to detect pedestrians and automatically apply the brakes did not work, especially at night.

The systems were also challenged by real-world situations, like a vehicle turning right into the path of an adult. AAA’s testing found that in this simulated scenario, the systems did not react at all, colliding with the adult pedestrian target every time.


The result of the study was alarming since 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur at night. In total, nearly 6,000 are killed every year, which is 1 in every 6 traffic deaths.

The testing was conducted on a closed course using simulated targets for the following scenarios:

  • An adult crossing in front of a vehicle traveling at 20 mph and 30 mph during the day and at 25 mph at night.
  • A child darting out from between two parked cars in front of a vehicle traveling at 20 mph and 30 mph.
  • A vehicle turning right onto an adjacent road with an adult crossing at the same time.
  • Two adults standing along the side of the road with their backs to traffic, with a vehicle approaching at 20 mph and 30 mph.

In the simulation, the child darting out was hit by the car a whopping 89 percent of the time. Cars were much less likely to have the detection system use the brakes if it was traveling more than 25 miles per hour.

“Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise, proving how important the safety impact of these systems could be when further developed. But, our research found that current systems are far from perfect and still require an engaged driver behind the wheel.”

Greg Brannon, AAA Director of Automotive Engineering

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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