Reducing Pedestrian Fatalities with Thermal Imaging

In response to the alarming number of pedestrian fatalities in the US, particularly at nighttime, Teledyne FLIR is joining forces with Ansys, a leader in engineering simulation software. Together, they are working on enhancing Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Autonomous Vehicle (AV) systems with integrated thermal imaging, aiming to augment vehicle perception in varying weather and light conditions.

Why It Matters

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) estimated a total of 7,508 pedestrian deaths from traffic crashes in 2022. This marked the highest toll since 1981. Significantly, a majority (77.1% in 2021) of these fatalities happened after dark. As pedestrian safety becomes paramount, there’s a dire need to advance ADAS and AV technologies, ensuring they are competent in all conditions. Integrated thermal imaging can play a pivotal role in minimizing nighttime pedestrian fatalities and assisting vehicle manufacturers in adhering to forthcoming regulatory testing, which encompasses nighttime pedestrian crash prevention.

Key Points

  • Thermal Detection: This technology fills perception capability voids and works in tandem with existing vehicle sensors like visible cameras, radar, and LIDAR.
  • Teledyne FLIR and Ansys Collaboration: They are combining their expertise to optimize the use of thermal imaging data, with a specific focus on enhancing pedestrian automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems.
  • Ansys AVxcelerate Suite: Now equipped with “Thermal by FLIR,” this tool aids perception engineers in rapidly integrating thermal imaging into ADAS and AV sensor stacks. This enhancement helps boost the accuracy of perception algorithms, especially in challenging scenarios such as spotting pedestrians in fog or smoke.
  • Teledyne FLIR’s Prism AI: This complements the AVxcelerate Suite and can serve as the primary perception or reference software during development. It offers streamlined data integration with Teledyne FLIR Conservator™ software and boasts the industry’s most extensive thermal-and-visible training dataset.

Bottom Line

The integration of thermal imaging into ADAS and AV systems represents a significant leap towards safeguarding pedestrians, especially in low-visibility conditions. As Mike Walters, VP of product management at Teledyne FLIR, noted, the collaboration provides a comprehensive ecosystem that can translate thermal imaging data into potentially life-saving technology for road users.


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