Adapted from Vision Zero June 2014
Car makers and researchers are working on the next generation of pedestrian-detection and collision-avoidance systems. The World Health Organization reports that there are over 270,000 traffic-related pedestrian fatalities every year, around the world. Clearly, we need vehicle systems to identify VRUs (Vulnerable Road Users) early enough, and systems to avoid or at least mitigate a collision. Both systems require developers first to identify the most common and safety-critical scenarios. This was the aim of a one-year naturalistic study done by researchers from Toyota and Purdue University (in the U.S. state of Indiana). They identified seven situations with elevated risk of a pedestrian getting hurt or killed by a vehicle. These include children walking alone, and areas with a large amount of activity on foot. The researchers also found that the risk rises when adults walk in groups of three or more, and that joggers are more likely to be hit than walkers.
Eliza Yingzi Du, who led the research, says the team estimated the pedestrian appearance points and TTC (Time To Collision) for all potential conflict events. Most such events have a TTC of one to six seconds, with the majority of those ranging from 2 to 4 seconds—the mean TTC is 3.84 seconds, with a standard deviation of 1.74.