Study Rates Pedestrian Crash Prevention Systems

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Oct. 29, 2019—The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the pedestrian crash prevention systems of 16 midsize cars in the lead-up to Halloween, a holiday that consistently ranks among the deadliest days for pedestrians in the United States.

Many manufacturers are upgrading the automatic emergency braking systems they have agreed to install by 2022 to recognize pedestrians, in addition to other vehicles. These systems scan the path ahead and automatically apply the brakes to avoid hitting people in the roadway. 

Most pedestrian crash prevention systems use one or two forward-facing cameras mounted near the rearview mirror and/or radar sensors in the front grille to scan the roadway for pedestrians poised to enter the vehicle's path. Algorithms determine if the detected objects are pedestrians. In some cases, they can recognize bicyclists or animals too. If the software calculates that a collision is imminent, it alerts the driver and applies the brakes faster than a human can react.

The study found four luxury and two nonluxury  cars earn a superior rating for their systems, while four nonluxury cars earn a basic rating or no credit. The Audi A4, BMW 3 series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Nissan Maxima, Subaru Outback and Volvo S60 have systems that earn superior ratings. The Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima earn no credit because they failed to slow significantly in multiple scenarios.


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