OAI: Pedestrian-Recognition Research Could Have Auto Insurance Implications

September 22, 2011 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Researchers from Toyota and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis are set to begin studying ways to improve pedestrian safety, according to Online Auto Insurance News.

The idea is to improve automotive technology in order to make the streets safer for those who are on foot, which could benefit motorists as well by reducing the rate of vehicle crash claims. Insurers typically pay for damages resulting from pedestrian crashes through the insured motorist's bodily injury liability coverage or the pedestrian's personal injury protection.

If the research does lead to systems that effectively help drivers avoid pedestrian-related crashes, it could be a significant safety breakthrough that, in the long run, could potentially help cut the average size of auto insurance quotes without personal information given for models equipped with the technology.

Federal safety officials say 4,092 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 59,000 injured in vehicle crashes nationwide in 2009. That was down 7 percent from the previous year and 14 percent from 2000.

Source: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811394.pdf

The five-year study partnering university and Toyota researchers will use crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and original vehicle testing in hopes of developing more realistic and sophisticated scenarios for testing pedestrian pre-collision systems.

The research is part of a five-year, $50 million effort on the part of the world's largest automaker to break new ground in automobile safety. Toyota engineers will be working alongside researchers at a half-dozen universities and research institutions across the U.S. on a range of study projects.

The pedestrian safety studies are focusing on an area that experts say is of great importance.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported earlier this year that the development and implementation of pedestrian-recognition technology for vehicles has the potential to prevent tens of thousands of crashes a year.

Technological advances in that area are already being made by Volvo and other automakers, according to IIHS.

One stumbling block identified by IIHS is adapting the technology to nighttime circumstances. According to the NHTSA, less than one-third of pedestrian-car crash fatalities happened during the day, when recognition systems are most effective.

To read more about this and other insurance issues, go to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/quotes/no-personal-info/ where you will find informative resource pages and a free-to-use quote-comparison generator that consumers can use to get sample premiums for many vehicle makes and models.