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Bosch wants your car to keep a lookout for pedestrians

German automotive supplier develops a system that will help drivers brake and take evasive actions to avoid collision with a pedestrian.

Bosch Pedestrian Avoidance System
Bosch's system only intervenes if the driver attempts to steer around the pedestrian. It will not take the wheel by itself.

Automotive supplier Bosch is developing all manner of safety systems for current and future automobiles. These systems aren't only meant to protect drivers, though.

Bosch plans to start production on a pedestrian protection system in 2018. The system, developed at its new facility in Renningen, Germany, will help drivers "brake and take evasive action if there is the threat of a car-pedestrian collision," Bosch said earlier this month in a press release.

The system will only spring into action if the driver's efforts to avoid a collision are not enough to prevent an accident. In addition to braking, the system will also help the driver steer around a pedestrian.

"Provided the driver reacts at least half a second before a potential collision, the assistance system can help avoid it in 60 percent of cases," said Dr. Lutz Bürkle, project manager for the system, in the release.

The system uses technology already found in some late-model passenger vehicles. A stereo camera, mounted high on the windshield, creates a three-dimensional survey of the road ahead. A computer in the trunk analyzes the image. When a pedestrian enters the street, the system computes the likelihood of a collision. At the same time, it plots a path of least resistance around the pedestrian while also predicting where they will move next.

Pedestrian avoidance is something that needs to be taken seriously, especially in Bosch's home country. Between 2010 and 2013, German pedestrians comprised between 10 and 15 percent of all on-road fatalities. In the United States, 14 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2013 were pedestrians, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Human error accounts for an overwhelming majority of all traffic-related incidents.

The pedestrian protection system fits into the German supplier's larger development of automated driving systems. By 2020, Bosch expects to its systems will allow for "highly automated freeway driving without the need for constant driver supervision." Tesla's Autopilot, which can steer and even change lanes, is the most advanced driver-assist system currently available to consumers. Tesla has stressed repeatedly, however, that drivers must still pay attention to the road while using Autopilot.

All of Bosch's efforts are part of the publicly funded UR:BAN project. This collective of 31 automakers, suppliers, business and governmental partners works to develop driver-assistance and traffic-management systems for the next generation of vehicles.

(Via The Engineer)