Harman Develops Safety Technology Intended to Eliminate Blind Spots

Many companies are investing heavily in the development of connected cars. That is not just because of the convenience they promise to offer.

It’s also because regular cars have many drawbacks, some of them are even quite dangerous. An excellent example is the blind spot.

That is where Harman International Industries come into play. They aim to create safety technology and save lives.

The Danger Created by Blind Spots

It can be difficult to see individuals or objects directly behind the car. Small children, in particular, are hard to spot, putting them in more danger.

It is estimated that there are at least five hundred thousand “backing” accidents each year in the U.S. alone. These collisions lead to approximately fifteen thousand injuries and two hundred deaths.

What’s more, larger vehicles such as SUVs, are becoming more and more popular. What’s the problem, you might ask? Well, since they are larger, they have a bigger blind spot.

Without proper safety technology, the number of injuries and fatalities will only rise. Obviously, something needs to be done already.

The Lack of Safety Technology

Cars now have more cameras and sensors than ever before. Unfortunately, as a result, drivers take on greater risks. Why? Because they think that the sensors will alert them of any dangerous situations.

While said sensors are there to make our lives easier, we can’t completely rely on them for everything – yet.

The truth is that while cars have become better at recognizing large objects, they still struggle with smaller ones.

What most drivers need to understand is that the sensors are better equipped to help drivers park, not avoid things in their blind spots.

To minimize risks and make the roads safer, people need specialized software and hardware.

Well, the mind behind this technology is Danny Atsmon, senior director of Machine Learning at Harman. He began working on this project when he realized that the current sensor solutions could not detect his own two-year-old child.

The Reverse Pedestrian Detection Mechanic

By combining the data provided by existing Harman devices, this system can help eliminate blind spots.

The Reverse Pedestrian Detection uses advanced computer vision, fish-eye cameras, and ultrasonic sensors. It also takes car speed and the steering wheel angle into account.

As a result, the safety system can detect even children between the ages of twelve and twenty-three months.

For the system to work, the car must be equipped with a rear-view camera and sonar. In the US, the law will require all cars that are built as of May 2018 to be outfitted with backup cameras.

Plus, many other vehicles already have them. Sonars, however, are much rarer.

Car owners who already have both devices can expect a nominal fee for the Reverse Pedestrian Detection. The only thing they will need is the software itself.

While the safety technology seems to be close to completion, the commercial release hasn’t been announced yet.

Since the technology can mean the difference between life and death in some situations, Harman will probably take its time and perfect the software. Rushing such a project would not do anyone any favors.

Other Options on the Market

Several other companies are working on their own pedestrian detection systems. Nissan’s Moving Object Detection is of note.

However, as the name implies, it’s only for moving objects. Thus, we can’t fully rely on it for all our safety-related needs.

Other similar systems will most likely appear over time. Self-driving cars, for example, need this kind of technology to prove that they will be safe to use.

The good thing about that is that the prices will start to go down eventually. Therefore, pretty much anyone will be able to afford this vital technology.

Of course, I’m also interested to hear what you have to say about this technological leap. Do you think it will do wonders for us safety-wise? Or do you think they will just over-complicate things?

Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comment section below. 

Philipp Kandal