Posted on August 16th, 2016

Back-to-School Pedestrian Detection Technologies

Blog Pedestrian
It’s back to school time. Students will be heading out early to catch buses, ride their bikes or walk to school. With so much activity on the road early in the morning, it’s time to think about how your vehicle can protect you, your passengers and the young pedestrians around you.

There are automotive safety technologies that are designed to detect pedestrians and alert the driver to avoid a collision. Common technologies like back-up cameras are highly effective and are equipped on many of the vehicles on the road today. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation requires that all new vehicles built in or after May 2018 must have back-up cameras installed. Back-up cameras provide a wide-angle view of objects directly behind the vehicle while in reverse, even at night.

Other technologies may be lesser known, but are equally as important to protecting pedestrians:

  • Pedestrian detection alerts drivers if there is a pedestrian in the path of a vehicle. Some may even brake automatically if the driver fails to respond to an alert. This technology typically works in a certain speed range, generally under 25 mph, which is the typical speed for neighborhoods and side streets where students travel.
  • Bicycle detection is a newer technology and works, just as the name suggests, by detecting bicycles in a vehicle’s path. It alerts drivers when a bicycle has been recognized, but some systems can only detect bicyclists directly in front of the vehicle and when moving in the same direction.
  • Rear cross traffic alert can detect cars that might be crossing as you back up. While this technology may not detect pedestrians, it’s proven to be effective at warning the driver if one or more vehicles are about to enter their backing path.

Another technology that can help in the detection of pedestrians on the road, specifically in the fall when there is less sunlight in the morning, is adaptive headlights. Adaptive headlights help to illuminate changing roadways, such as curves, by moving the headlights from side to side with the steering wheel. This provides more light to help a driver identify and react to pedestrians in their path.

While the driver will always be a vehicle’s best safety feature, pedestrian detecting technologies can assist with safer driving. Many of these technologies are new to the market, but you can check your owner’s manual to identify which technologies are equipped on your vehicle. Also, visit to learn more about how these safety features work.