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February 24, 2019

2019 Subaru Forester Scores "Superior" in Pedestrian Crash Prevention as BMW's X1 Flunks Every Single Test

Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist system has proven itself once more as the carmaker’s 2019 Forester scored a “superior” rating for pedestrian crash prevention at the latest test done by the U.S.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or IIHS.

This result reiterates the study done by the Highway Loss Data Institute or HLDI which found that the Subaru EyeSight system cuts crashes involving pedestrians by as much as 35 percent.

In order to test a vehicle’s pedestrian crash prevention, the IIHS came up with three common scenarios:

The first scenario involves an adult pedestrian on the right side of the road entering the street in the path of an oncoming vehicle. This is the most common type of crash involving a pedestrian. The second test simulates a child darting into the street from behind two parked vehicles. Finally, the third test scenario replicates an adult walking in the vehicle's travel lane near the edge of the road. The adult's back is turned away from traffic.

Vehicles are scored according to their average speed reductions in five repeated test runs on dry pavement. Tests are conducted at 12 mph (20 km/h) and 25 mph (40 km/h) in the perpendicular adult and child scenarios, and at 25 mph (40 km/h) and 37 mph (60 km/h) in the parallel adult scenario.

The IIHS says that the most challenging test is the perpendicular child scenario. A dummy, representing an average-size 7-year old, is hidden by a car and an SUV parked on the right side of the road as the test vehicle approaches. There is no clear line of sight for the camera until the dummy emerges from behind the parked vehicles when the test vehicle is about 2 seconds, or 35 feet (10.6 meters), away in the 12 mph test (20 km/h) or just under 2 seconds, or 65 feet (19.8 meters), away in the 25 mph (40 km/h) test. When the dummy enters the travel lane, the test vehicle is roughly 1.5 seconds away.

In this scenario, human drivers will not have enough time to brake, highlighting the importance of pedestrian detection and automatic braking.

Among the 11 SUVs tested, the Forester avoided hitting the dummies in every perpendicular test. In addition, it was the only one to issue a timely warning (greater than or equal to 2.1 seconds time-to-collision), upping the odds of a driver response.

Aside from the 2019 Forester, the only other compact SUV to score “superior” were the Honda CR-V fitted with Honda SENSING, the Volvo XC40, and the Toyota RAV4 fitted with Toyota Safety Sense. The Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Kona, Kia Sportage, Mazda CX-5, and Nissan Rouge (aka X-TRAIL) scored “advanced” when properly equipped while the Mitsubishi Outlander scored “basic.” Surprisingly, the BMW X1 failed all the tests.

A pedestrian detection system typically uses forward-facing cameras plus radar sensors in the vehicle’s front grille to continuously scan the roadway and horizon for pedestrians and, in some cases, bicyclists or animals, who might cross the vehicle's travel path. Algorithms classify the objects as people, bicyclists or animals, predict their travel path and determine the vehicle's speed in relation to them. If a collision is imminent, the system typically alerts the driver and can apply the brakes far faster than a human could react.

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