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Lidar Ready to Help Decrease Pedestrian Roadway Perils
Oct 28, 2020 | By Velodyne Lidar

October is Pedestrian Safety Month

While there are many modes and preferences when it comes to transportation, every person is a pedestrian at some point in their day. Unfortunately, being a pedestrian can be hazardous. For instance, in 2018 in the United States, there was a more than three percent increase in the number of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number totaled 6,283 deaths, which was the highest since 1990.

Over 6,000 pedestrians are killed every year in traffic-related crashes in the United States with the vast majority of fatalities occurring in dark conditions

Accidents involving pedestrians are preventable tragedies. Everyone should feel they can walk safely on our roadways. As part of its efforts to improve safety for vulnerable road users, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration designated October as the first-ever national Pedestrian Safety Month.

Throughout October, NHTSA has been highlighting dangerous driving behaviors that put pedestrians at risk and ways to improve pedestrian safety. The agency has made pedestrian safety resources and safety tips available on its website.

Velodyne Lidar has a long-standing commitment to advancing safety on roadways and in communities and strongly supports Pedestrian Safety Month. Velodyne’s lidar sensors have a major presence in autonomous vehicles and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), helping to enable safer mobility. Velodyne sensors capture high-definition, three-dimensional information, providing vehicles with a more detailed view of their surroundings to maximize roadway safety.

Side by side comparison of images produced by automotive camera and Velodyne’s Velarray lidar in dark conditions with streetlights and low beam headlights.
Side by side comparison of images produced by automotive camera and Velodyne’s Velarray lidar in dark conditions with streetlights and low beam headlights

Lidar Can Advance Pedestrian Safety

Velodyne’s lidar, which can be considered the “eyes” of a vehicle, is capable of performing in a wide variety of lighting conditions. In contrast, cameras may suffer in low lighting and in the dark. This is crucial for roadway safety because crashes occur at a higher rate in the dark, and the majority of pedestrian and bicycle injuries and fatalities occur between dusk and dawn, according to a Governors Highway Safety Association report

In nighttime testing, Velodyne’s PAEB system that uses the Velarray sensor and Vella™ software avoided a crash in every situation tested.
In nighttime testing, Velodyne’s PAEB system that uses the Velarray sensor and Vella™ software avoided a crash in every situation tested

For example, whereas cameras may struggle to see beyond a vehicle’s headlights, lidar has the ability to detect a pedestrian or bicyclist at night should either of them enter the roadway. This gives the vehicle’s system time to react and avoid a collision. Therefore, it is possible to prevent many deaths and injuries, day and night, by employing autonomous solutions and ADAS that use lidar for perception and object avoidance.

Images show vehicle with lidar-based PAEB stopping before adult target @ 50% overlap (above) and vehicle with camera and radar-based PAEB crashing into adult target (below).
Images show vehicle with lidar-based PAEB stopping before adult target @ 50% overlap (above) and vehicle with camera and radar-based PAEB crashing into adult target (below)

To learn more about lidar and pedestrian safety, check out Velodyne white paper “Improving Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking (PAEB) in Dark, Nighttime Conditions.” Velodyne’s white paper “Revolutionizing Driver Assistance Systems with Forward-Looking Lidar” explores how lidar technology strengthens current approaches to ADAS by providing another set of perception data that provides real-time free space detection in all light conditions.

Lidar Can Improve Transportation Safety

Velodyne’s sensors can also be used in a variety of Intelligent Transportation Systems to measure and monitor conditions in areas such as pedestrian safety, vehicle traffic and parking space management, and more. They can collect reliable, detailed traffic data about road users, including vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists, while preserving anonymity.

The University of Nevada, Reno’s Nevada Center for Applied Research has integrated Velodyne Ultra Puck lidar sensors with traffic signals to detect, count and track pedestrians, cyclists and traffic.
The University of Nevada, Reno’s Nevada Center for Applied Research has integrated Velodyne Ultra Puck lidar sensors with traffic signals to detect, count and track pedestrians, cyclists and traffic

For instance, the University of Nevada, Reno’s Nevada Center for Applied Research is using Velodyne’s lidar sensors in its Intelligent Mobility initiative to collect data aimed at making transportation more efficient, sustainable and safe. Velodyne sensors have been placed at crossing signs and intersections in the city of Reno, Nevada to detect, count and track pedestrians, cyclists and traffic. Velodyne’s lidar sensors do not identify individuals’ facial characteristics, addressing a growing requirement for civic applications to safeguard privacy.

About Velodyne Lidar

Velodyne Lidar provides smart, powerful lidar solutions for autonomous vehicles, driver assistance, delivery solutions, robotics, smart cities, security, and more. As the leading lidar provider, Velodyne is known worldwide for its portfolio of breakthrough lidar sensor technologies. Velodyne’s high-performance product line includes a broad range of sensing solutions, including the cost-effective Puck™, the versatile Ultra Puck™, the autonomy-advancing Alpha Prime™, the ADAS-optimized Velarray™, and the groundbreaking software for driver assistance, Vella™. As a market leader, Velodyne has served more than 300 customers including nearly all of the leading global automotive original equipment manufacturers.

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