AEB Fused with Thermal Can Save Lives

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Source: Teledyne FLIR post

WILSONVILLE, Ore. – Teledyne FLIR recently posted the results of a study it had performed on the combination of thermal cameras with automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems. The results of this study – such a combination is more capable than the AEB alone — have been published in a white paper and the executive summary provides much of the material for the post, which follows:

At the end of 2019, FLIR and VSI joined forces to advance the use of thermal cameras for the development of a more reliable automatic emergency braking (AEB) system in all conditions.

In July 2020, we returned to the track at the American Center for Mobility (ACM) to test a fused AEB system that included a thermal camera, radar, visible camera, and FLIR CNN. The tests were conducted alongside four commercially available vehicles in challenging conditions.

The test results show that the AEB system with the added thermal camera performed significantly better than existing commercial AEB systems in the supplemental gap testing. Read the Executive Summary of the test results below or download the full whitepaper.

Executive Summary: Improving AEB Effectiveness with Thermal Sensing Technology


In 2019, vehicle accidents in the United States killed more than 6,000 pedestrians, the highest annual total ever recorded, and sent more than 100,000 to hospitals with injuries. 75% of the reported fatalities occurred at night. (1) In an ongoing effort to make roads safer, twenty automakers committed to the U.S. Congress that all newly manufactured cars and trucks will be equipped with AEB systems starting in 2022. However, today’s Euro New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) testing procedures do not include testing for common driving conditions such as driving in total darkness or with glare. The AAA exposed potential weaknesses in current AEB systems in day and night conditions in their October 2019 paper, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection. (2)

To detect pedestrians, current AEB systems rely on either visible light cameras, radar or both. None currently use thermal cameras, which can detect a pedestrian much further than typical headlights can illuminate for a visible camera.

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This paper tests the theory that adding thermal technology to today’s radar and visible light technology can reduce pedestrian collisions in common driving conditions. A FLIR sponsored car using a fused AEB system combining thermal, radar, and visible light sensing with a convolutional neural network (CNN) tested against four commercially available cars with state of the art AEB systems. Five test cases were developed based on Euro NCAP testing protocols. The tests included scenarios not currently in standard AEB positive detection testing. These are: daytime when pedestrians’ clothes blend in with the background, daytime pedestrian in oversized clothing, nighttime driving, driving into sun glare, and nighttime child and adult pedestrian emerging from behind a parked car.

The entire post, with links, videos and images, can be viewed by clicking HERE.

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