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Background

Vulnerable road users can be defined as those road users unprotected by an outside shield, namely pedestrians and two-wheelers. These road users have a greater risk of injury in any collision with a vehicle. In view of the large research efforts currently in the field of powered two-wheelers this proposal will consider pedestrians and to a minor extend pedal cyclists.

It is well known that most accidents with pedestrians are caused by the driver being in-alert or misinterpretation the situation. For that reason pedestrian detection systems coupled with driver warning and/or autonomous braking action are recommended to facilitate accident avoidance or reduction of the impact speed. Especially combined active and passive countermeasures that on one hand reduce impact speed and on the other hand protect the pedestrian upon impact (at low speeds) have a high potential to reduce fatalities and injuries.

As stated in the call text: “Unprotected and un-motorized road users suffer the most severe consequences in collisions with vehicles due to the limits of the human body’s tolerance to crashes at a collision speed over 30 Km/h.” Assuming that:

  • 50 to 75% of pedestrian accidents are foreseeable, i.e. the pedestrian can be detected and the car braked before the impact
  • Forward looking integrated pedestrian safety systems can reduce impact speed by 15 to 20 km/h for pedestrians hit by the front of the car (as claimed by systems currently in the market and using the benefit methodology as developed for the European Commission , it is estimated that integrated pedestrian safety systems could yield a reduction of 15 to 30% in the number of pedestrian road fatalities in Europe upon full penetration into the fleet.

Based on such findings various EU FP projects started developing required pedestrian detection technologies which enabled the development of commercial systems that are now entering the market. However, their actual deployment is limited! The main reason is the lack of public awareness, which, to a very high extent is caused by the fact, that the benefits of such systems have not been quantified yet. Moreover, it is difficult for the average vehicle or fleet owner to see, how investments in integrated pedestrian safety systems will pay off.

Therefore, an essential step for the widespread introduction of integrated pedestrian safety systems is the development and implementation of procedures for their evaluation . As stated by various stakeholders like the eSafety forum wide deployed in the marketplace is required to realise their potential benefits.
 

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 285106

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