Pedestrian Test Dummies Put Driverless Cars to the Test
Toyota and Mcity team up to test the safety of driverless cars using humanless pedestrians
Mcity, the area designated to test driverless cars, is getting closer to completion every day. This city is located just north of the University of Michigan’s campus, and they are continuing to build devices and run tests in order to determine the safety of driverless cars, which could hit the market anytime in the next five years. The purpose of the city is built around proving that driverless cars will not only be safe for roadways, but that they’ll reduce the number of accidents.
One of the upcoming additions to the safety zone comes in the form of mannequins designed to act just like pedestrians. This technology and other developments will either help driverless cars to become road ready or prove that this particular advancement needs a little more time before it hits the market.
Consumers have mixed opinions about driverless cars. Some are excited for the changes they’re supposed to bring, including the elimination of reckless driving and the benefit of convenience. Others are concerned that it will cause more accidents than it stops. The biggest controversy has been the risk of driverless cars hitting pedestrians.
In answer to this concern, Toyota is partnering with Mcity to develop mannequins that resemble real human beings as closely as possible. Although the fabric and look of the mannequins will look distinctly different from a person to the casual observer, the driverless car will classify them as a human. The mannequins will be made of a synthetic fabric lining a robotic frame, and the car will be able to detect the movements of the pedestrian mannequins in order to recognize when a pedestrian is in front of the car.
The mannequins will be designed to perform simple movements that mimic that of a human. So far, Toyota has shared images of two mannequin designs. One simulates the movements of walking, and the other simulates bike riding. Tests will be conducted with mannequins of various sizes, and it will see how the cars do when the mannequins stop suddenly, or even lie down in front of the car.
There are several other major companies that will be working with Mcity to help test these cars’ ability to detect pedestrians. The cars are designed to pick up several types of data in order to determine if a human being is in front of them. Honda, for example, is working on technology that will be able to detect a smartphone in the pocket of pedestrians to avoid a potential collision.
Bosch is also a part of the efforts. They are working on technology that will help the car break more efficiently when it meets a pedestrian. This technology includes the use of radar sensors and video cameras that will allow the car to identify the difference between the objects it sees. It will be able to determine the difference between the cycling pedestrian and another car, for example.
Those skeptical of the driverless car scene can rest assured that Mcity and a number of other car and technology companies are taking precautions to ensure the safety of those entering the roadway.
Test dummy via Shutterstock