AI Pedestrian detection systems don't work most of the time, AAA study finds

If you can't see a pedestrian, don't expect your car to either, says AAA. The organization recently conducted a study on pedestrian-detection systems, which are supposed to spot people walking into the path of a car and warn the driver or, in some cases, apply the brakes.

AAA found these systems don't work reliably at night - exactly when most pedestrian fatalities occur, the organization noted.

AAA tested four sedans - a 2019 Chevrolet Malibu, 2019 Honda Accord, 2019 Toyota Camry, and a Tesla Model 3 - equipped with both pedestrian detection and autonomous emergency braking, which automatically applies the brakes if the car believes a collision is imminent.

Tests were conducted on a closed course with "Simulated pedestrian targets," according to AAA. Researchers conducted tests in both day and nighttime conditions, at varying speeds, and with different behaviors from the fake pedestrians.

At night, none of the four systems reacted to - or even detected - the pedestrians, according to AAA. That's especially troubling, as 75% of pedestrian fatalities occur after dark, AAA noted.

Just like drivers, pedestrians must remain alert at all times, and avoid distractions such as texting, AAA noted.

General Motors, manufacturer of the Chevy Malibu used in the AAA tests, released a statement in response to the study results.

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