Research Still Suggests In-Car Cameras Don’t ‘See’ Motorcyclists

As has been the way for some time, crash protection and detection systems still can’t effectively recognise a motorcyclist

self driving cars

We’ve been reporting on this for some time on Visordown, and it’s still the case that car safety technology that should help to prevent crashes still can’t accurately and effectively recognise a person riding a motorcycle.

The technology is fairly complex but simple to explain. Many modern cars get a raft of cameras and, in some cases, radar sensors plastered to their exterior, supposedly giving it a 360-degree ‘view’ of the road ahead, behind, left and right. Now for the part that seems to be causing the issue, artificial intelligence (AI) is then used to allow the car to decipher what all objects around it are and in a way ‘see’ what is around it on the road.

And I say ‘see’ as the car can’t actually see, and instead, the captured images are turned into lots of zeroes and ones, waypoints and so on. There’s a larger article on how radar safety systems work here, that was written after I spoke to the CEO of radar sensor manufacturers Vayyar, Ian Podkamien, if you want to find out more. Well, it turns out that this system is okay at detecting a car on the road, although correctly identifying a motorcycle is proving a little more tricky.

A self driving car not specifically one that has this issue

The news comes from a report authored by Jessica Cicchino and David Kidd, titled Traffic Injury Prevention. They have crunched the numbers and poured over the stats, and while it seems crash protection systems such as automatic emergency braking (AEB) and forward collision warning (FCW) do have a positive impact on motorcycle crash numbers, the benefit is much less than that had the two vehicles involved been four-wheeled. A snippet from the report reads:

‘Front crash prevention was associated with a 53% reduction in rear-end crash rates when striking another passenger vehicle, which was significantly larger than the reductions of 38% when striking a medium/heavy truck and 41% when striking a motorcycle.’

This is not new news to us, and a few manufacturers have been featured on the pages of Visordown over the years for producing cars that could be potentially dangerous to motorcyclists due to an apparent lack of motorcycle comprehension. What’s worrying though is that it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. People who ride bikes seem to be a little way down your average car manufacturer’s pecking order, it seems.