Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection Technology

Improved Safety with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection Technology

Pedestrian and cyclist detection technology is one of the latest innovations that improve safety not necessarily for the driver or the passengers of a vehicle, but rather for the people around it. Human response time is often too slow to react properly when a pedestrian or a cyclist steps unexpectedly in front of the car, leading to many accidents with severe injuries and even fatalities. However, pedestrian detection technology relies on sensors in order to determine whether a person is in front of the vehicle or not and, if this is the case, begins automatic braking procedure a lot faster than a human driver ever could.

The Development of Pedestrian Detection Technology

Volvo was the first company to start development on this technology and has successfully implemented it in many of its vehicles. The current system uses a combination of a camera mounted in the rearview mirror together with a radar located inside the grille in order to determine what kind of obstacles lay ahead of the car.

The newest developments into this technology have considerably improved its response time and its ability to detect a possible pedestrian with enough time to actually prevent an accident. These improvements have benefitted cyclists the most since they are, on average, must faster than pedestrians which gives the car's automated system less time to act.

Improved awareness for the car also means improved awareness for the driver. This is where there are a few key differences in the various detection systems available for different makes and models. Certain systems will take over control immediately and act according to their predetermined actions. Others, however, are more focused on alerting the driver of immediate danger such as flashing warning lights that there is a cyclist or pedestrian nearby. This increases the awareness of the driver and allows him to make the proper decision.

The Future of Pedestrian Detection Technology

Alternatives to the standard pedestrian detection technology are being worked on by GM and they work through Wi-Fi. More specifically, the system relies on Wi-Fi Direct, a wireless connection which is peer-to-peer. This means that the connection skips the need to use a cell phone tower as an intermediary and instead connects two smartphones directly. The benefit to this is that the connection speed is a lot faster. The goal here is to develop an in-car system which will be capable of detecting all other people on the road that have Wi-Fi Direct activated and this can lead to a significant reduction in fatalities in the near future.