When we talk about pedestrian traffic, safety must be the top concern. But sadly, transportation infrastructure worldwide pays more attention to the vehicle's safety, not people.
More than 5,900 pedestrians were killed in car crashes in the year 2017. This does not end here as in the same year, more than 136,000 cases of non-fatal accidents of pedestrian-car crashes were also reported.
Upon inspection, around 45% of cases reported a drunk driver or an intoxicated pedestrian. Additionally, most of these accidents occur at night, which shows that most of the vehicles, even those included in the luxury tier, do not have adequate lighting to alert the driver or the pedestrian on the road.
According to !important, the prominent pedestrian safety app developer, “The demand for state-of-the-art technologies to prevent vehicles from colliding people has gained momentum in recent times. Today, many companies are coming up with innovative car safety ideas that could help deal with the pedestrian safety crisis.”
Regardless of the cause of these fatal incidents, there is no comprehensive solution to avert them. In response, automotive manufacturers are now developing advanced crash-prevention technology in their new models.
Given the alarming number of fatal traffic incidents, the presence of automated acceleration and braking systems is increasing. New cars are coming with a system that cautions the driver while changing lanes on the road.
Also, around 80% of vehicles sold in 2018, are reported to have come with a pre-installed crash-prevention system. However, these crash-avoidance systems fall short of our current need, as they are more driver-oriented and cater to the safety needs of those inside the vehicle only.
On the flip side, the top automakers realize the urgency to include safety controls to avert accidents and meet the two-way safety goal for both the pedestrian and the driver. They have committed to improving the safety controls with advanced tech with an ever-improved road sense.
There’s no doubt that car tech that ensures Pedestrian safety is the real challenge for automakers, globally. Therefore, we’ll look at some of the top car safety techs that are currently in development for installation in upcoming models.
Automated Braking System
More than 95% of carmakers in the US have committed that all new vehicles by 2022 will come with a pre-installed automated emergency braking system.
A prominent development is German carmaker Bosch's emergency braking system, which uses advanced algorithms to detect walkers and cyclists on the road. It functions within a 20-meter radius, using radar and a camera installed on the top of the windshield. The detector alarms the driver if a pedestrian or cyclist is found within a range of 20 meters, and triggers the emergency brake.
The high-tech can even identify an object or pedestrian in foggy conditions, thus overcoming the limitations of previous standard automated brake tech.
A special feature of this braking system is that it constantly monitors side-ways and in front of the car. It’s super-fast in analyzing the situation as the software runs algorithms more than 30 times in a second, and decides on whether triggering an emergency brake is possible. The brake can also be triggered successfully within a second.
Although the technology seems essential to be installed in new car models, there are not many carmakers that have started their work with automated braking.
Since more than 70% of the fatalities occur at night, providing better lighting to drivers could really help solve the problem. Insurance companies have also expressed concerns about inadequate lighting, which is even a problem with expensive, luxury cars.
In addition, SUV vehicles, which have been in trend since 2008, require adequate lighting since these cars are three times more likely to have fatal accidents on the road. Because of their height and high speed, they are likely to hit the walkers around the neck or even worse, at the head. Advanced lighting which helps the driver to see clearly in the dark, will certainly help in reducing pedestrian-car crashes.
At times the car driver may not be at fault, and the pedestrian may emerge in front out of the blue. Accidents at intersection points are common and a real challenge for carmakers.
The automotive maker, Continental has come up with innovative tech. This wireless tech could be installed at the road infrastructure close to intersection points. Infrastructure sensors have the capability to sense a moving object within a small radius. Sensors could be integrated with car systems, and wireless connectivity may communicate information if an object is nearby, thus signaling the driver to slow down.
The American Luxury car maker, Cadillac has pioneered in installing infrastructure sensors. Infrastructure tech could be beneficial to drivers and signal them to take immediate action, thus averting crashes. On the flip side, installing sensors on intersection points has a hefty cost, and for successful installation at such a wider scale, there has to be a stronger commitment from local transport authorities.
High-Tech Car Infotainment
Another useful tech is car infotainment. Using smartphones and getting distracted with infotainment is common for car drivers. As a solution, the advanced infotainment tech is here. Car infotainment tech is the future for drivers according to the top carmakers. The infotainment technology has an in-car display projector, which will turn the driver’s windshield into a wind-screen.
Infotainment tech is developed to keep the driver’s eyes on the road. The windscreen will display key features such as fuel, intersection points, speed, location, and essential safety controls, making driving safer both for the driver and the pedestrian.
Mobileye Driver Assistance Tech
The Mobileye Driver Assistance system is an emerging tech for car safety. The system informs the driver if the vehicle is in an alarming radius with any object, pedestrian, bicycle, or vehicle. Driver assistant tech is integrated with the smartphone of the driver, with the aim to keep the driver focused.
Infotainment on smartphones has proven to be disastrous as drivers get distracted easily and end up crashing into pedestrians and vehicles. This driver assistant tech integrates with the phone and has a camera that could be installed on the windshield.
The assistant system has an android app, which is installed on the smartphone for integrating the smartphone of the user. The driver’s assistant also comes with an optional in-car display screen.
The software uses the mounted camera to examine the road and recognizes objects using algorithms and alarms the driver while accelerating and taking turns, thus providing better safety controls to the driver.
Since accidents occur despite the presence of crosswalks, and as drivers do not always keep track of the crosswalks due to distractions, a new technology for pedestrian safety strives to avert crashes. Belgium-company named Trafficon, develops high-end traffic safety tech.
The company has developed pedestrian detectors, which activate within a defined radius. The detectors are integrated with the traffic lights system, ensuring the safe and smooth flow of both vehicles and pedestrians on the road.
When a pedestrian is nearby, the detectors recognize them, and automatically the pedestrian light turns green. On the other hand, when there are no pedestrians around, it turns the pedestrian light red and allows vehicles to pass, thus ensuring a steady flow of vehicle traffic.
The integrated pedestrian detector guarantees safety for all as it can delay the passing time for pedestrians after detecting them near the crosswalk.
Catering to the safety needs of older pedestrians or people with disabilities is more important. Around 20% of all pedestrian-car accidents involve people aged 65 and above. People with impaired vision or blindness find it hard to navigate streets, or when to walk-on the crossing.
As a solution, Pedestrian GPS is an emerging tech that helps older people in navigating streets with its AI agent, which communicates location, and enables smooth and safe movement.
The GPS primarily guides on routes having minimal traffic and could also be turned on as a discovery tool for people being lost, and trying to locate to get home safely.
Self-driver tech is an emerging system. Sensors guarantee safety for both the driver and the pedestrian. This tech has received immediate attention from some of the top carmakers such as Volkswagen, Tesla, General Motors, and others.
However, AI-powered driving systems have many challenges ahead since Uber’s self-driven vehicle recently crashed into a pedestrian and was unable to recognize objects and enforce emergency brakes.
Most pedestrian safety tech is under development. Automated braking systems are common to find and could bring fruition in averting pedestrian crashes. Advanced headlights or adequate headlights are what can be seen as essential since most incidents take place in the dark.
On the flip side, the wide-scale implementation of safety infrastructure sensors is a hefty investment. The self-driver tech is emerging and faces many challenges ahead.