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Safety Company Tests Infrared Cameras Near Deadly Accident

An automotive safety company is trying to make a difference after a fatal crash in Goleta last week.

The company is called Autoliv. People may not have heard of it but drivers most likely have its products in their vehicles.

A pedestrian was killed while crossing the street last Monday in the intersection of Cathedral Oaks Road and Santa Marguerita Drive. Shuguang Lui, 59, of Bejing, China, was pushing a stroller with a 20-month-old relative when they were both hit. The toddler was seriously injured.

After the accident, Autoliv decided to test its infrared technology to see if it can help prevent future crashes.

“We heard of the stories, the tragic story and very sad story. We wanted to see that our system, could it have made a difference,” said Richard Seoane, the Autoliv Night Vision general manager.

Autoliv partnered with FLIR, a thermal imaging company.

The night vision camera is mounted in the grill of the vehicle. On a screen in the car, the image of a pedestrian or animal is shown. If the object is in the warning area — or path of the vehicle — the image is highlighted.

Seoane thinks this technology could have alerted the driver before the woman was killed.

“So we actually came out here right at about the same time, around 5:20, when the accident occurred, and in the system we were able to detect pedestrians crossing the crosswalk,” he said.

What the naked eye can’t see, someone walking in the crosswalk, the night vision picked up.

“There’s about 5,000 pedestrian fatalities that occur each year,” said Seoane.

That’s a number he would like to see drop.

The Autoliv company is working on the third-generation camera in a test vehicle. The data collected in Goleta will be sent to Sweden to a team that will develop the technology to be used around the world.

“I think this can help save lives. There’s many situations when you’re driving at night where your headlaps are on, you think you’re illuminating the road but you still can’t see pedestrians and animals. They’re out there,” said Seoane.

The Autoliv cameras are currently in Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi vehicles. The company wants to implement them in mid-range vehicles as well.

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