by Jose Blanco
DETROIT (Reuters) – Many of the automatic braking systems used by automakers to prevent vehicles from hitting pedestrians don’t work well in the dark, according to test results released on Tuesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the United States.
The insurance industry-backed group said 12 of the 23 sedans, midsize SUVs and small pickups it tested got a “basic” rating or no credit because they failed to properly detect or slow down a fictitious pedestrian in night tests. . About three-quarters of pedestrian fatalities occur at night, the IIHS said.
Beginning with the 2023 model year, the IIHS will require vehicles to earn a “superior” or “advanced” rating on the new overnight pedestrian detection test in order to receive a “Top Safety Pick+” rating from the organization. Automakers strive for top marks from the IIHS, just as they do with the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The IIHS is focusing on pedestrian detection technology as fatalities of people on foot struck by vehicles are rising sharply on U.S. roadways. Pedestrian fatalities increased in 2021 to 7,342 deaths, up 13% than the previous year and 80% more than the low point in 2009, according to federal data.
There is not yet a government test or performance standard for automatic braking systems with pedestrian detection. And there is no federal requirement for nightly testing of such systems, IIHS President David Harkey said.
The IIHS found wide variation in system performance both among competing automakers and among different models sold by the same automaker.
Nissan Motor Co’s 2022 Pathfinder was rated “superior,” while the company’s Altima sedan received “no credit” in IIHS testing.
Nissan said in a statement that it “is still evaluating the results of the latest IIHS tests, including the difference in results in combination with the performance of the equipped headlamps.”
Volkswagen said in a statement that IIHS-tested vehicles only use radar.
“We are confident that the next versions of the Atlas, Atlas Cross Sport and Tiguan should perform better because they fuse camera and radar sensors and hopefully achieve an advanced rating.”
Toyota said its Tacoma truck, which received a “no credit” rating on the IIHS test, is not equipped with a system that can detect pedestrians at night. The Toyota Highlander and Camry received “superior” ratings and have more advanced pedestrian detection technology. Toyota did not comment on the IIHS test method.
Ford and General Motors did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Eight of the 12 vehicles that scored low, “basic” or “no credit” in the night test had systems that scored “superior” or “advanced” in the daytime tests, the IIHS said.
The IIHS is using its tests to push automakers to improve the performance of automatic braking systems, but Harkey said the increase in pedestrian fatalities is due to multiple factors, including vehicle speed, pedestrian behavior and the increasing involvement of larger, heavier and taller trucks. SUVs.
(Reporting by Joe White; Editing by Josie Kao)