More and more cars today are being designed with an advanced technological interface. It would make sense that as technology continues to get better, the more integral it will be in the design of future cars. Early this morning, the multinational engineering and electronics company Bosch announced that they plan to integrate a pedestrian avoidance system into production vehicles as early as 2018. This system that they’ve been working on can “detect and help avoid pedestrians that step out in front of cars” (Condliffe). Most people would agree that this is a much needed modification to cars. According to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4,743 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in the United States in 2012, and another 76,000 pedestrians were injured. This is a major problem around the globe, and now Bosch thinks they’ve found a solution.
While this new system is not fully autonomous, it instead intervenes if the driver’s response time is not fast enough to prevent the collision. They use a stereo video camera that monitors the oncoming road for pedestrians and traffic, with software that predicts “the likely paths that they’ll take based on their speed and direction of travel”. Bosch uses algorithms based on large datasets of pedestrian behavior that was captured from hours of dashcam footage. Unfortunately this system is not yet perfect, because it only takes action once the sensors detect a change in steering angle, vehicle speed, and yaw rate caused by the driver. While there are many factors that the system needs to consider before taking control of the car, Bosch has stated that “as long as the driver reacts a half second before the collision, the autonomous sytem can help avoid a crash in 60 percent of cases”. For a brand new system that hasn’t even been finished yet, these are already promising numbers.
Bosch has designed this new system for commercial class vehicles, for the everyday driver. How soon then until this technology spreads to another branch, like the military? While still very basic, after several years of public use, I’m sure the military will be able to change this algorithm for its own uses. This system can be modified to help military vehicles avoid oncoming enemy fire or explosion shrapnel. I’m sure they will be able to find a way to implement it into all of their vehicles, whether it be land, sea, or air.
While this new system can help revolutionize the automotive industry, people who have been wishing for self-driving cars will just have to wait. This new system that Bosch plans to integrate into production vehicles is only somewhat autonomous, responding only after the human driver has changed their steering or speed. However, this creates the question of whether or not Bosch (or any other company) already has the resources to make the fully autonomous vehicle. Perhaps they do have the technology, but just don’t want to deal with the “complexities of autonomous car ethics” just yet.
Condliffe, Jamie. "Bosch Has a Pedestrian Avoidance System It Wants to Put in Real Cars By 2018." Gizmodo. N.p., 29 Oct. 2015. Web. 29 Oct. 2015.
"Pedestrian Safety." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 07 Oct. 2014. Web. 29 Oct. 2015.