European Pedestrian Safety Regulations Create Demand for New Technology

Each year as many as 9,000 pedestrians and cyclists are killed; an average of 25 deaths per day, and a further 200,000 people are injured in the European Union countries alone, accounting for 20% percent of all traffic fatalities. A significant proportion of casualties are the result of contact with a moving vehicle; notably with the frontal structures of passenger cars.

In an effort to combat this growing tragedy, The European Council and Parliament have now adopted new standards mandating all new vehicle models to pass a number of pedestrian safety tests. In a first phase, starting in 2005, new types of vehicles must comply with two tests concerning protection against head injuries and leg injuries. In a second phase, starting in 2010, four tests of increased severity, based on the recommendations of the European Enhanced Vehicle Committee (EEVC), will be required for new types of vehicles, two tests concerning head injuries and two concerning leg injuries.

In response, Flexpoint Engineers have designed and created a Pedestrian Impact Detection System (PIDS) that is capable of detecting impact within milliseconds and able to distinguish between a human leg and inanimate objects. The system integrates a series of Bend Sensors® along the front bumper and, upon contact, triggers a safety response in accordance with the auto makers’ standards. This could include raising the hood to prevent the head from hitting the engine block, or deploying an external airbag. The system has been tested by several Tier One auto suppliers and European auto manufacturers.