Self Driving Cars Are Unable To Detect Pedestrians with Darker Skin Tones

By: | March 17th, 2019

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Self-driving cars or autonomous vehicles are on their way but they might not be just around the corner yet.

A new report shows that self-driving cars are more likely to run you over if you have darker skin.  These autonomous vehicles are found to have more difficulty detecting pedestrians with dark skin than those with light skin.

Researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology investigated eight AI models used in state-of-the-art object detection systems. These systems help self driving vehicles in recognizing road signs, pedestrians, and other objects as they navigate roads.

The study used the Fitzpatrick scale, which is commonly used to classify human skin color. The team analyzed how correctly the machine identifies the presence of people on the road. Researchers found that the AI model was 5% less accurate in detecting people with dark skin tones, irrespective of whether the photo was taken during the day or at night.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. You can also find Nidhi on Google+.

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