An AAA report published October 2019 examined automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection states that "all evaluated systems were ineffective during nighttime conditions." Excluding nighttime from driving time poses a critical safety and functionality showstopper across the AV and ADAS sectors.
The systems were also blind in adverse weather, even more so when combined with night - for example, rainy nights, reflective snow, dense fog. In these conditions, these systems can’t be trusted to prevent road casualties.
The report questions, "How do pedestrian detection systems function at night?" and mentions that according to NHTSA, most pedestrian fatalities take place at night, away from intersections. Over the past 10 years, nighttime crashes accounted for more than 90% of the total increase in pedestrian deaths.
In this section, systems from multiple vehicles were tested, and in 100% of the cases, the systems were found ineffective at night:
"Summary of Test Results: Evaluated pedestrian detection systems were found to be ineffective within a low-ambient light environment. This finding is consistent with limitations described within the owner's manual of each test vehicle.
It is important to note that test conditions were representative of a roadway with no streetlights; testing was conducted at an approach speed of 25mph; this is a typical speed limit in many residential areas that may or may not have street lighting. This test illustrates that drivers must not rely on assistance from current pedestrian detection systems during nighttime driving or other environments with reduced visibility."
Independent tests performed under the DENSE European Research project evaluated the performance of various optical sensing technologies, naming Bright Way Vision's GatedVision camera most effective.
AutoSens hosted numerous automotive and safety experts in its virtual event September 2020, and experts concluded: vehicles simply aren’t safe today at night or in adverse weather with low visibility.