Automakers face increasing legislative demands to make cars less dangerous in the event of a collision with a person.
Pedestrian fatalities make up nearly a third of the 40,000 annual car-related deaths in Europe, and about 5,000 pedestrians are killed on U.S. roads each year. That represents about 12 percent of the total annual highway death toll of 42,000 in America.
An estimated 80 percent of these deaths are caused by head injuries resulting from a collision with the car hood, A-pillar or windshield.
In European Union countries, cars must meet more demanding pedestrian-safety rules. By 2012, this requirement will be expanded to all new cars.