Detecting Pedestrians

Researchers are using cutting-edge cameras and computers to develop systems to detect pedestrians in crosswalks and delay traffic lights if needed to ensure safe passage for pedestrians. This article describes this technology, and discusses the safety and traffic benefits it may offer. Using funding available through the Federal Highway Administration's Small Business Innovation Research program, researchers have developed a new stereo vision-based approach for detecting pedestrians at intersections. The technique involves a prototype of a new infrared, light-emitting diode stereo camera that can detect pedestrians both during the day and at night. The researchers also developed advanced pedestrian detection algorithms that enable them to extract generic three-dimensional features from a stereo disparity map, leaving the human figures behind. The technology can discriminate pedestrians from vehicles because automobiles appear basically flat, while human bodies have concave shapes. A prototype camera system was installed at a busy State highway intersection in the Hadley, Massachusetts, for testing over a 3-week period. The results from this pilot test indicate that the prototype is on track toward being ready for commercial sale and widespread use. Product development of the system is now underway. It is hoped that this system can help improve pedestrian safety. Pedestrian monitoring also should help reduce delays, minimize fuel consumption, and limit vehicle emissions by facilitating traffic control optimization when pedestrians are absent.


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  • Accession Number: 01142408
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Oct 22 2009 12:29AM