Pedestrian-detection system could reduce road fatalities

1 min read

TRW Automotive Holdings has developed a system that automatically activates a car’s brakes in order to avoid collisions with pedestrians.

The forward-looking pedestrian-detection and accident-mitigation system does this by using advanced signal processing algorithms to fuse data from video camera and radar sensors, in combination with electronic stability control (ESC), to automatically brake a vehicle.

In a statement, Martin Thoone, vice-president, electronics engineering at TRW, said: ‘When vehicles collide with pedestrians, the risk of serious injury or death is very high.

‘According to statistics, a pedestrian has an 85 per cent chance of death when involved in a motor-vehicle collision at 40mph, a 45 per cent chance of death at 30mph and a five per cent chance of death at 20mph.

‘Active pedestrian-detection systems — which can automatically slow the vehicle to reduce the impact speed or even avoid the collision — can therefore help to significantly improve the pedestrian’s chance of survival.’

TRW said its forward-looking pedestrian detection system fuses sensor information from its scalable video camera with its 24GHz radar data. If a pedestrian is detected in front of the vehicle by the camera and confirmed by the radar, risk-assessment algorithms are employed to determine the probability of a collision.

A warning is issued to the driver and a braking manoeuvre can be automatically initiated with the aim of slowing the vehicle and reducing the severity of the impact.

Thoone continued: ‘In addition to vehicle detection, lane detection and traffic sign recognition, the scalable camera provides the capability to detect and track pedestrians at distances of more than 40m, even in challenging urban scenarios — such as multiple pedestrians in crowded cross walks or pedestrians using umbrellas in the rain.

‘By adding a radar device via sensor fusion, the enhanced performance allows full braking at higher speeds.’

TRW’s forward-looking pedestrian-collision-mitigation system is scheduled for production in 2014 with full braking functionality.