Many Vehicles Struggle With The IIHS Night Pedestrian Autobrake Test

Automatic emergency braking systems can certainly help prevent collisions with vehicles and pedestrians. However, when it comes to pedestrians, it seems that many of these systems suffer from the same flaws as humans. They don’t see well when the sun goes down.

That’s the conclusion of a new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) report on the effectiveness of automatic braking systems after dark. According to the organization, 75 percent of vehicle-pedestrian collisions occur after dark, so a new set of tests was launched to evaluate the system in night conditions. The results were not great, as only four of the 23 vehicles received a superior rating, the highest possible score. The other seven reached advanced rank. In comparison, 19 of the same 23 scored superior or advanced in daylight conditions.

The highest-ranking vehicles were the Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Camry, Toyota Highlander, and Ford Mustang Mach-E. Of these, only Pathfinder avoided pedestrian collisions in all scenarios. At the other end of the spectrum, the Toyota Tacoma, Honda Pilot, Nissan Altima, and Chevrolet Malibu didn’t get any ratings at all, as these vehicles barely slowed down or resumed full speed through all of the tests. Eight other vehicles received base ratings.

“Eight of the 12 vehicles that received a basic or no credit rating in the nighttime test received a superior or advanced rating in the daytime evaluation,” said David Aylor, vice president of active safety at IIHS and designer of the new test program.

Night testing involved a variety of situations at various speeds, using both high and low beam lights. Adults crossing roads and adults walking parallel are the two most common situations; These tests were performed at 12 mph and 25 mph for the crossing test, and at 25 mph and 37 mph for the parallel.

“As we expected, most of these pedestrian AEB systems don’t perform well in the dark,” said IIHS President David Harkey. “But it’s clear automakers can take on this new challenge, as Ford, Nissan and Toyota each get superior ratings for some models.”

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