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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Update March 2021: Velodyne Lidar recently conducted nighttime testing of its PAEB solution, which combines our Velarray lidar sensor with our Vella software, with a highly-rated PAEB system that uses radar+camera technology. This video showcases how Velodyne’s affordable lidar-based PAEB solution delivers superior performance in all conditions, a decisive advantage over radar+camera. This is especially critical at night with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reporting 80 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur during dark lighting conditions. The radar+camera-based technology used in our testing failed in all six nighttime scenarios while the Velodyne PAEB solution avoided a crash in every situation.