pedestrian detection

Volvo’s pedestrian detection and automatic braking system improves road safety

Germany's ADAC said there's a lot of work to be done before automatic emergency braking systems function properly.

But the automobile club, which tested Volvo's new Pedestrian Detection and Full Auto Brake system,said that, despite weaknesses, the technology improves safety on the roads.

The ADAC tested Volvo's system and said it functions properly within the framework defined by the Swedish automaker. But it noted that, when visual conditions deteriorate -as could happen in the case of rain - pedestrian detection becomes less precise. And in the dark, it doesn't work at all.

The automobile club was also critical of the reaction speed of the Volvo system. When tested at a speed of 18km/hour, a test dummy walking 5 meters ahead of the car was hit, although the system properly identified the situation. The emergency braking worked well at a distance of 8 meters.

Volvo said the main purpose of its system is to provide an initial warning that will alert a driver "so he or she can brake or steer out of the way." Only if the driver fails to respond, will the car brake automatically. The carmaker said that, in certain circumstances, the automatic brakes can avoid collisions at speeds up to 35 km/h.

Studies show that the warning-and-braking system could reduce pedestrian deaths from head-on collisions by 20 percent, Volvo said.

The ADAC said that, despite its reservations, it considered Volvo's emergency warning and braking system a clear safety improvement. That is because a driver benefits from the warning system even when emergency braking isn't triggered.

Volvo offers pedestrian recognition with automatic emergency braking on several of its models, including the S60 and XC60.