New research from AAA indicates that automatic emergency braking systems with pedestrian detection perform inconsistently and, at night, completely ineffectively.
In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA evaluated the performance of four midsize sedans equipped with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection to determine the effectiveness of these systems. Testing was conducted on a closed course using simulated pedestrian targets.
According to the motoring club, the systems also were challenged by real-world situations, such as a vehicle turning right into the path of an adult. In this scenario, AAA reports, systems did not react at all, colliding with the adult pedestrian target every time.
The following scenarios also were tested …
• An adult crossing in front of a vehicle traveling at 20 mph and 30 mph during the day and 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.
• Two adults standing along the side of the road with their backs to traffic, with a vehicle approaching at 20 mph and 30 mph.
According to AAA, the systems performed best in the instance of the adult crossing in front of a vehicle traveling at 20 mph during the day. In this case, the systems avoided a collision 40% of the time. However, at the higher speed of 30 mph, most systems failed to avoid a collision with the simulated pedestrian target.
The other scenarios proved to be more challenging for the systems. When encountering a child darting from between two cars, with the vehicle traveling at 20 mph, a collision occurred 89% of the time. When approaching two adults standing alongside the road, with the vehicle traveling at 20 mph, a collision occurred 80% of the time.
In general, the systems were ineffective in all scenarios where the vehicle was traveling at 30 mph, AAA reports. And, at night, none of the systems detected or reacted to the adult pedestrian.
AAA supports the continued development of pedestrian detection systems, specifically when it comes to improving functionality at night and in circumstances where drivers are most likely to encounter pedestrians.
“Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise, proving how important the safety impact of these systems could be when further developed,” Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering and industry relations, said in an Oct. 3 announcement. “But, our research found that current systems are far from perfect and still require an engaged driver behind the wheel.”