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Harman develops blind spot detection safety system to reduce reversing accidents

A new safety system has been developed to help eliminate the blind spots that are responsible for accidents that injure 15,000 pedestrians and cause 200 deaths a year in the USA.

Harman International has launched its Reverse Pedestrian Detection system that combines data from a range of existing Harman technologies fitted to the car, including a rear camera and sensor, to detect pedestrians behind the vehicle. In one of its most critical uses, it can successfully detect smaller children, aged between 12 and 23 months, who are most vulnerable to being hit. The rising popularity of bigger vehicles such as SUVs has exacerbated the blind spot issue for consumers. Coupled with drivers placing too much reliance on the effectiveness of sensors and cameras, Harman believes only by combining real-time sensory data with driver attention can the situation improve.

The Reverse Pedestrian Detection technology uses advanced computer vision methods and a fish-eye camera to detect pedestrians behind the vehicle, and fuses it with data from the ultrasonic sensors for close pedestrian verification. To improve the accuracy, the application also uses the steering wheel angle and speed for calculating probable collision trajectories. Harman says its Reverse Pedestrian Detection technology is a cost-effective safety enhancement that is based on software implementation, without the requirement of additional hardware, and is now available to automotive manufacturers for integration into new or existing models.

“Despite the introduction of a range of safety technologies found in today’s cars, and even with the most attentive drivers, ‘back over’ accidents cause too many deaths and injuries,” said Danny Atsmon, senior director of machine learning at Harman, who created the technology after realizing his own two years old child could not be detected by existing sensor systems. “Tragically, over 70% of incidents involving children are caused by a parent or relative behind the wheel. Reversing cameras certainly increase the driver’s field of vision, but there is still an area on either ride of the car that is not covered, and traditional reversing sensors are optimized to detect larger obstacles. No system is infallible, and the driver must still take caution, using mirrors or glancing over their shoulder. However, with our Pedestrian Detection system, drivers can reverse more safely with confidence. As we work toward bringing this software to automakers, we have adopted an approach that will enable the software to be housed in existing vehicle infotainment systems to minimize the cost and designed to fit into as many automakers’ vehicles as possible.”

 

April 21, 2016

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