Ford already offers pedestrian detection technology, but for the first time, it will include night vision. The added capability could prevent a large number of pedestrian road deaths, of which most occur in the dark. In 2015, three out of four pedestrian road deaths in the U.S. happened in the dark.
Utilizing a radar in the car’s bumper and a camera on the windshield, the pedestrian detection system is able to distinguish pedestrians from objects such as trees or road signs. Thanks to the video live-feed and the viewing angle, it can pick out pedestrians at night using only the illumination of the headlights. After the system detects a pedestrian, it will warn the driver with audible and visual alerts, and if the driver fails to respond, the vehicle will automatically brake to prevent an accident.
“We know some drivers find hitting the road at night a stressful experience. Especially driving in towns and cities, pedestrians – sometimes distracted by mobiles – can without warning step into the road, leaving even alert drivers very little time to avoid an accident,” said Gregor Allexi, active safety engineer for Ford of Europe, in a recent release. “Day and night, Pedestrian Detection is designed to help identify people already in – or about to step into – the road ahead.”
Ford tested the new pedestrian technology by sending life-sized dummies into the path of vehicles after dark. Some of the testing occurred on public roads in Paris and Amsterdam, the automaker says.
Both the Ford Mustang and F-150 gain new safety features for the 2018 model year, including pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection. The Mustang receives additional new features such as distance alert, lane-departure warning, lane keeping assist, and the Driver Alert System that combats drowsy driving.
In addition to the Mustang and F-150, the night-capable pedestrian detection system will make its way to the next-gen Fiesta in Europe.