Oblivious pedestrians can avoid Darwin’s Law more readily now that mass market automakers Ford and Honda are rolling out pedestrian detection and braking systems.
The automakers combine radars and cameras that helps the car ID the culprits, warn the driver, and usually brake in time. They join Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru and Volvo who have jointly taken the lead on these pedestrian safety features.
The Ford system is called Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection. It combines radar and optical (camera) technology. As with most other systems, the same sensors also warn of rapidly decreasing distance from the car in front, then brake to avoid a crash, or reduce the force.
It debuts first later this year on the 2015 Ford Mondeo. In the US, that’s the Ford Fusion (our Editors’ Choice for midsize hybrids, but there is a gas version too), and the Lincoln MKZ. As for the US, Ford said in its release, “It will then roll out to other Ford and Lincoln products around the world.”
Honda says it’s bringing out a system a system to deal safely with pedestrians and close-ahead vehicles, under the umbrella term Honda Sensing.
The pedestrian safety component is called Pedestrian Collision Mitigation Steering System. A millimeter wave radar in the grille and a monocular video camera in the windshield sense pedestrians in front and alongside the road. In the case of roadside pedestrians too close for comfort, the car will veer away from the pedestrian, apparently after making sure there’s no oncoming car.
Honda says that will be on the Honda Legend, sold here as the Acura RLX, the largest Acura sedan (RLX, TLX, ILX).
Pedestrian detection works better in the day than at night. The pre-collision component can be affected by snow and rain, especially for the systems that are optical-only.
Since the radar and camera technologies are sourced from third parties, it’s likely all automakers will offer some form of pedestrian detection within 2-3 years. When all cars have USB jacks and similar fuel economy (for their weight and engine size), safety is a distinguishing factor. If you’re not better than the rest, you can’t be without a safety aid available from your competitors.
Source: Extreme Tech