Velodyne Lidar has released a video showcasing the company’s latest lidar-based PAEB (pedestrian automatic emergency braking) system. The company says the solution delivers superior performance in all conditions, offering a decisive advantage over rival radar+camera systems. This is especially critical at night: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 80% of pedestrian fatalities occur in dark lighting conditions.
The Velodyne video presents striking test results. A highly rated PAEB system using radar+camera-based technology failed in all six night-time scenarios, whereas the Velodyne PAEB solution avoided a crash in every situation. The company says these results support independent testing by NHTSA and the American Automobile Association (AAA) to confirm whether PAEB systems that use radar+camera-based technology adequately protect pedestrians in dark conditions.
Velodyne’s PAEB solution combines the company’s proprietary Vella software with lidar sensors. The sensors can be easily embedded in various locations around a vehicle, including behind the windshield. Vella software interprets lidar data to avoid and mitigate collisions with moving and static objects. Through predictive collision monitoring, Vella compares a vehicle’s trajectory with other road users and objects to identify and avoid imminent crash scenarios.
Velodyne has shared the PAEB test methodology and findings with NHTSA and other auto safety leaders. NHTSA has a pending proposal to update its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), adding advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) capabilities, including PAEB. Velodyne says it is very supportive of NHTSA’s NCAP plan to keep pace with evolving safety technologies and provide much-needed information to consumers.
“Our PAEB testing initiative clearly demonstrates the imperative for regulatory agencies and testing organizations to include night-time conditions in their PAEB assessment protocols,” explained Anand Gopalan, CEO of Velodyne Lidar. “Everyone, particularly auto makers and drivers, will expect ADAS, such as PAEB, to perform effectively in a wide variety of lighting situations, particularly at night when most pedestrian fatalities occur. We believe Velodyne’s lidar data and Vella processing software have proved to be effective and ready for implementation, with the potential to save the lives of thousands of pedestrians annually.”
Velodyne PAEB testing methodology
The Velodyne PAEB tests were conducted at night, without streetlights, at less than 1 lux ambient lighting in an independent testing facility. The two vehicles in the test were driven at 48km/h on a straight track. The test vehicles both had their low-beam headlights on during the trials. Stationary child and adult pedestrian dummy targets were used, compatible with testing protocols prescribed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Euro NCAP.
Six scenarios were evaluated, with both vehicles tested in each scenario five times or until the vehicle collided with the target three times, to minimize damage to the targets and vehicles. The scenarios in which vehicles were evaluated were crossing adult at 50% overlap (at the center of the test vehicle’s width); crossing adult at 25% overlap; crossing child at 50% overlap; crossing child at 25%, adult at 75%, 3m behind child; crossing adult at driver-side corner; and fallen adult at 50% overlap.
The vehicle with Velodyne’s lidar-based PAEB system, equipped with one Velarray lidar sensor, successfully stopped in time to avoid a crash five times out of five for every scenario tested. The vehicle equipped with a PAEB system using radar+camera-based technology failed in every scenario tested. Additional details can be found in a white paper.