Tuesday 20 February 2018

Most of us are scared of night driving but new technology can help us 'see'

Driving at night
Driving at night
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

Most of us are terrified of driving in the dark, the latest research reveals, but new technology can allay our fears and help us 'see' much better at night.

Thousands of drivers in Europe were surveyed and 81pc revealed how scared they were on the roads at night.

The research, by Ford, showed 87pc of women felt afraid when at the wheel in the dark. More than half found poor night vision a source of stress, while more than one-third were afraid of being involved in an accident. One-in-five fear hitting a pedestrian.

A major recent concern in Ireland has been the number of pedestrians killed on our roads at night. European figures for 2014 show pedestrians were involved in more than 20pc of road fatalities, and almost half of those occurred after dark.

The research was carried out on Ford's behalf as it plans to introduce improved technology called Pedestrian Detection, which they claim will, for the first time, be able to work at night.

The technology was developed by a specialist team working at night to monitor and stage accidents, such as sending life-sized dummies into the path of vehicles on closed tracks.

They also tested the system on public roads in cities such as Paris and Amsterdam.

The resulting technology is capable of detecting pedestrians at night and automatically applying the brakes if the driver doesn't respond to initial warnings. Ford says the technology will be in new models from 2018.

Pedestrian Detection works by processing information from radar in the bumper and a camera in the windshield. A database of "pedestrian shapes" lets the system differentiate between people and objects.

The camera sends more than 30 snapshots a second while the live-feed video and wide viewing angle lets the system pick out pedestrians in low-light conditions.

Indo Motoring

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