Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-22-0015
2020-03-31

Pedestrian Detection During Vehicle Backing Maneuvers Using Ultrasonic Parking Sensors 2019-22-0015

Ultrasonic parking sensors are an active technology designed to alert drivers to the presence of objects behind their vehicle but not the presence of a human. The purpose of this study was therefore to ascertain if these sensor systems can successfully detect a human subject. We accordingly conducted experiments using four vehicles equipped with both rear-facing center and corner ultrasonic parking sensor systems to determine the detection distance between the vehicle and a 1-m tall, 75-mm diameter pipe, a child, an adult woman, and an adult man. The detection of human subjects was evaluated under front-facing and side-facing conditions behind each vehicle. The results indicate that for a front-facing and side-facing child, the center sensor detection distances were 50-84% and 32-64%, respectively, shorter than that of the pipe. For front-facing and side-facing adults, the center sensor detection distances were just less than or roughly equivalent to that of the pipe at 89-102% and 78-97%, respectively. A similar trend was seen for the corner sensors. Notably, under the side-facing condition, the sensor detection distances were slightly shorter for all subjects than under the front-facing condition. These results reveal that ultrasonic parking sensor systems can not only detect objects but also humans, indicating that ultrasonic sensors are an available countermeasure to prevent backover accidents involving pedestrians. To address the shorter detection distance of children, a combination of ultrasonic parking sensors with other systems, such as backup cameras, may be more effective for avoiding backover collisions.

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