Over the years, automakers have not only made vehicles safer for the occupants but also for pedestrians around them. In order to protect passersby, a number of vehicles come equipped with automatic emergency braking systems that can detect and automatically brake for people on foot. These systems give pedestrians comfort that they can cross the street without being hit by a random car. But what if the system doesn’t really work?

In the U.S., the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently tested 11 new small SUVs that come equipped with auto detection and braking features. Out of the 11 vehicles tested, only one vehicle failed the pedestrian collision test as it failed brake at all from 59.5 km/h during one of tests and sent the test dummy airborne. This vehicle was the 2018/19 BMW X1.

IIHS says they conduct three different pedestrian-crash simulations. The first test is the most common scenario, involving someone entering the street right in front of an oncoming vehicle. The second involves a child running out into traffic from behind two parked vehicles. The third one replicates an adult walking in the same direction as traffic in a vehicle’s lane near the edge of the road. 

Despite the X1 being equipped with BMW’s Daytime Pedestrian Detection System, the small SUV failed to detect and brake during the parallel test, and exhibited minimal to no speed reduction in the other tests.

Because of the failure to detect and brake for the dummy, the IIHS gave no credit to the X1 for a rating. The other vehicles tested included the 2018/19 Honda CR-V, 2019 Subaru Forester, 2019 Toyota RAV4 and 2019 Volvo XC40, all of which earned the highest rating of superior. Meanwhile, the 2019 Chevrolet Equinox, 2018–19 Hyundai Kona, 2019 Kia Sportage, 2018–19 Mazda CX-5 and 2019 Nissan Rogue earned an advanced rating. The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander/ASX was rated as basic.

To see how the cars performed, check out IIHS' test video above.