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Harman has developed a new safety system to help eliminate blind spots, which it says, kill or injure 15,000 pedestrians a year in the US.

Reverse Pedestrian Detection combines data from a range of existing Harman technologies fitted to the car, including a rear camera and sensor, to detect pedestrians behind the vehicle.

Harman says it can also detect smaller children, aged between 12 and 23 months, who are most vulnerable to being hit.

“Despite the introduction of a range of safety technologies found in today’s cars and even with the most attentive drivers, ‘back over’ accidents cause too many deaths and injuries,” said Harman senior director of machine learning, Danny Atsmon.

“Tragically, over 70% of incidents involving children are caused by a parent or relative behind the wheel.”

Reverse Pedestrian Detection technology uses computer vision methods and a fish eye camera to detect pedestrians behind the vehicle and fuses it with data from ultrasonic sensors for close pedestrian verification. To improve accuracy, the application also uses the steering wheel angle and speed for calculating probable collision trajectories.

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“Reversing cameras certainly increase the driver’s field of vision, but there is still an area on either side of the car that is not covered and traditional reversing sensors are optimised to detect larger obstacles,” added Atsmon.

“No system is infallible and the driver must still take caution, using mirrors or glancing over their shoulder.

Harman’s system is based on software implementation without the requirement of additional hardware and is available to automotive manufacturers now.

“As we work toward bringing this software to automakers, we have adopted an approach that will enable the software to be housed in existing vehicle infotainment systems to minimise the cost and designed to fit into as many automakers’ vehicles as possible,” said Atsmon.