Over 100 million Americans tuned in last Sunday to enjoy football and a halftime show, and were surprised to see an advertisement focused on vehicle technology. The ad, which circulated widely on social media, featured a vehicle equipped with a driver-assistance system failing to detect a child-sized pedestrian mannequin and stroller. This ad comes after the Governors Highway Safety Association projected that pedestrian fatalities reached a 40 year high in 2021, driven by speeding, impaired and distracted driving, and other danger driving behaviors. The public may wonder from these statistics and the illustration of certain current technological limitations, how can vehicle technology improve safety on our roadways?
While that question may be new in the minds of the general public, the lidar industry has long been working to answer this question. Through the Lidar Coalition, the industry speaks with one voice to advocate for policies that ensure vehicle safety technology works in all conditions, particularly when detecting pedestrians. Many current advanced driver-assistance systems rely on camera and radar sensing. Camera-based systems have limited detection capabilities in low light conditions, while radar systems have trouble detecting humans. In contrast, lidar-based technology can detect vulnerable road users in both low light and low visibility conditions, when they are most at risk. Together, these sensors can complement each other to achieve a robust safety-enhancing effect.
This coming year, the Department of Transportation is expected to issue proposed performance standards for automatic emergency braking and pedestrian automatic emergency braking. These standards will be critical to address the pedestrian detection issues showcased in the advertisement last Sunday. The Lidar Coalition will contribute to this effort by aiming to submit its own proposal for performance standards designed to keep all road users safe. Technological innovation, coupled with appropriate government standards, has the potential to deliver life-saving benefits to roadway users.
The Lidar Coalition represents 10 of the leading companies in the lidar ecosystem including hardware manufacturers, tier 1 suppliers, software providers, and semiconductor developers.