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Instead of detecting other vehicles, some systems are designed to detect pedestrians and other vulnerable road users. Images from a forward-looking camera are analysed to identify shapes and characteristics typical of humans. The way in which they are moving relative to the path of the vehicle is calculated to determine whether or not they are in danger of being struck. If so, the AEB system applies full braking to bring the car to a halt and, at the same time, it may issue a warning to the driver. Predicting human behaviour is difficult and the algorithms used in pedestrian detection systems are very sophisticated. The system must be able to react properly to a valid threat but must not apply the brakes where there is no danger e.g. where a pedestrian is walking to the edge of the pavement but then stops to allow the car to pass. These systems invariably employ a camera combined with a radar – something called sensor fusion. New technologies are appearing on the market that use infra-red and can also operate in very low light conditions.
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