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IIHS Names Cars with Best Pedestrian Detection System

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Turns out, not all pedestrian detection systems in cars are created equal.

In a bid to keep the public aware of the latest pedestrian detection technologies in cars, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rounded up 16 midsize sedans from different manufacturers to find out which ones have the best pedestrian detection systems.

The test results were divided into four categories: Superior, Advanced, Basic, and No Credit. Six of the 16 brands qualified for the Superior rating, while the rest fell somewhere between the three lower-ranked categories. Unsurprisingly, luxury vehicles Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo all made it to the Superior division.

The Ford Fusion performed so poorly in the IIHS test that it received a No Credit rating.

For the non-luxury brands, Nissan and Subaru made the cut for the Superior rating, proving that even the less expensive vehicles can get their pedestrian detection systems down to a T. In particular, the Nissan Maxima and the Subaru Outback were among the standouts in the tests.

Six other brands earned an Advanced rating, while the four remaining companies received a No Credit rating. Among the most notable automakers that performed poorly was Ford with its Fusion.

The test was conducted to raise awareness of the increased rate of annual pedestrian fatalities in the United States. Data shows a 53% increase in the number of pedestrian deaths (the lowest point since 2009) with more than 6,000 pedestrians killed in 2018 alone.

Over the last few years, car manufacturers have been working on upgrading their respective automatic emergency braking systems to recognize pedestrians and are aiming to roll out the technology by 2022. These systems are being designed to scan the road ahead and apply brakes automatically to avoid hitting people.

“Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users, so it’s encouraging that pedestrian crash prevention systems are standard equipment in 12 out of the 16 midsize cars we tested, including five out of six Superior-rated systems,” IIHS President David Harkey said.

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