Don't Fully Trust the Lexus LS Active Pedestrian Safety System Yet

More and more automakers are offering collision avoidance systems on their vehicles, but as this technology is relatively new, you shouldn't completely rely on their capabilities to prevent or mitigate an impact.
Lexus LS crashing on dummy 1 photo
Photo: screenshot from Youtube
For example, a recent study conducted by Consumer Reports shows that Lexus' newest Pedestrian Safety System won't always work as expected. But before we jump to conclusions, let us introduce you to the technology first.

Mercedes-Benz and Volvo are equipped with similar systems, designed to scan the road ahead and apply the brakes in case the driver isn't reacting when an obstacle is detected on the road.

These avoidance systems basically rely on video cameras to “see” forward, but Toyota's version also adds a radar to detect obstacles in poor visibility conditions. The automaker claims that the system is effective up to a maximum speed of 24 mph (38.6 km/h). But is it?

The Active Pedestrian Safety system is part of the Advanced Pre-Collision System Package offered by Toyota on some of its models, including the Lexus LS 600hL you see here in the test.

Consumer Reports recently borrowed the high-tech Lexus flagship to see if the system really helps you or not. To simulate a pedestrian jumping in the face of danger, a crash-test dummy named “Steve” has been transformed into a real-life Pinocchio with the aid of some strings and a suspended gantry.

The test has been conducted for several times at different speeds, as you'll see in the video bellow, coming to varying results. Sometimes, the car stopped with room to spare, letting the dummy continue on its path untouched even at 25 mph (40.2 km/h). However, CR said that in some tests, the system failed to stop at 10 mph (16 km/h).

In comparison, a Mercedes-Benz S550 fitted with a similar system was tested last year and resulted to be almost flawless through “a series of modulated, drama-free halts”.

Toyota admitted its Active Pedestrian Detection System is still under development, despite the fact it is already available to buy along with the rest of the aforementioned pack priced at $6,500.

Whether you'll spend money on a bunch of driving aids that might not work or not, is solely your decision. Either way, you should always concentrate on the road, wear your seatbelt and stick to the speed limit.

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