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Effectiveness of Pedestrian Crash Avoidance Technologies: Comparing Day vs. Night Performance

Project Description

The recent statistics indicating 7,500 annual pedestrian deaths in the US, with approximately 75% occurring at nighttime, amplify the critical concerns about pedestrian safety. This alarming trend highlights the urgent need to enhance the effectiveness of crash avoidance systems. Given this pressing necessity, our research aims to bridge the gap by exploring a broader category of advanced safety technologies, focusing particularly on Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking (P-AEB) systems under night and daytime conditions. The primary goals are to assess the proportion of P-AEB systems that successfully detect pedestrians and to identify the contributing factors to both detection and subsequent deceleration. Utilizing field experimental data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) spanning from 2021 to 2024, which includes numerous scenarios post-outlier correction, the research employs the Heckman two-step model with panel data. The initial phase focuses on pinpointing variables that influence the detection capabilities of these systems, while the subsequent phase involves analysis of scenarios where pedestrian detection has occurred, with an emphasis on analyzing braking system performance. This comprehensive approach facilitates a deep exploration of the sequential functions of P-AEB systems—from detection through to braking—shedding light on their effectiveness across different conditions. Initial findings indicate that factors such as body size, fuel type, pedestrian movement, sensor deployment in vehicles, headlight technology, and ambient lighting conditions play significant roles in the performance of P-AEB systems. This study contributes to the ongoing discourse on the rapid advancement of crash avoidance technologies and the critical need for further research and policy development to improve pedestrian safety.

Outputs

The proposed research aims to generate a range of outcomes crucial for advancing P-AEB systems. A comprehensive final report will summarize the findings and suggest future improvements and standardization for P-AEB systems. To reach the academic and professional communities, technical papers detailing the study's methodology, findings, and implications for pedestrian safety during both daytime and nighttime will be submitted to peer-reviewed journals. In addition, a policy brief will be developed to support the effective deployment of automation technologies like P-AEB, enhancing pedestrian safety and minimizing crash risks.


Building on these efforts, initial findings from the research underscore the urgent need for improvements in braking systems despite generally effective detection capabilities. Observations reveal that both vehicle features and environmental conditions significantly influence system performance. For example, hybrid vehicles have demonstrated superior deceleration rates, highlighting their enhanced braking capabilities. Moreover, newer vehicle models equipped with cutting-edge technologies, such as LED projectors and combined camera-radar systems, have shown notable improvements in pedestrian detection. These insights are integral to refining P-AEB technologies and ensuring their success in enhancing road safety.

Outputs

The proposed research aims to generate a range of outcomes crucial for advancing P-AEB systems. A comprehensive final report will summarize the findings and suggest future improvements and standardization for P-AEB systems. To reach the academic and professional communities, technical papers detailing the study's methodology, findings, and implications for pedestrian safety during both daytime and nighttime will be submitted to peer-reviewed journals. In addition, a policy brief will be developed to support the effective deployment of automation technologies like P-AEB, enhancing pedestrian safety and minimizing crash risks.


Building on these efforts, initial findings from the research underscore the urgent need for improvements in braking systems despite generally effective detection capabilities. Observations reveal that both vehicle features and environmental conditions significantly influence system performance. For example, hybrid vehicles have demonstrated superior deceleration rates, highlighting their enhanced braking capabilities. Moreover, newer vehicle models equipped with cutting-edge technologies, such as LED projectors and combined camera-radar systems, have shown notable improvements in pedestrian detection. These insights are integral to refining P-AEB technologies and ensuring their success in enhancing road safety.

Outcomes / Impacts

This research will significantly deepen our understanding of how P-AEB systems perform under various lighting conditions (day/night), highlighting crucial aspects for their improvement. By analyzing the effectiveness of these systems, the project not only supports the development and refinement of P-AEB technologies but also promotes their wider adoption, driving toward a safer road environment for everyone. Enhanced P-AEB systems will directly impact transportation safety by reducing pedestrian injuries and fatalities, particularly in low-light conditions where risks are traditionally elevated. Improved system reliability and durability are also anticipated as more robust and fail-safe mechanisms are developed, reducing maintenance needs and operational failures. In terms of costs, while initial research and development investments might be high, the long-term benefits of fewer crashes and reduced healthcare costs will prove economically beneficial. Additionally, the findings will inform the creation of stringent policies and regulations that govern using P-AEB systems, ensuring they function optimally and safely. The overall aim of the study is to build a solid foundation for policy decisions that facilitate the integration of advanced automated technologies like P-AEB into vehicles, ultimately improving pedestrian safety and improving transportation reliability.

Dates

06/01/2024 to 05/31/2025

Universities

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Principal Investigator

Asad Khattak

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

akhattak@utk.edu

ORCID: 0000-0002-0790-7794

 

Iman Mahdinia

The University of California at Berkeley

imahdinia@berkeley.edu

ORCID: 0000-0003-1199-7398

Project Partners: 

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Center for Transportation Research

 

University of California at Berkeley

Safe Transportation Research & Education Center


Research Project Funding

Federal: $70,000

Non-Federal: $35,000

Contract Number

69A3552348336

Project Number

24UTK03

Research Priority

Promoting Safety

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