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Volvo Designing System to Prevent Collisions With Wild Animals

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19a-SAM_1437 Look out for deer!In an effort to reduce the number of auto accidents involving wild animals, Volvo Car Corporation is working on a system that automatically brakes for animals on the road. Engineers are designing a radar sensor system that will react to the shape, size, and movement of such animals as elk, deer, reindeer, and moose. In addition, an infrared system will detect animals at night, and also pedestrians.

The new system, part of Volvo’s vision for 2020, “that nobody should suffer serious injury in a new Volvo” is based on its Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake technologies introduced in 2010.

“During demonstrations of Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake, we were often asked about protection from accidents with wild animals. We will present a market-ready system within a few years,” said Andreas Eidehall, technical expert in the field of active safety systems at Volvo Car Corporation.

According to Volvo Car Corporation’s Global Newsroom:

One challenge facing the engineers is to teach the system to recognise different animals. A development team from Volvo Car Corporation spent an evening at a safari park digitally logging film sequences of animals and their various behavioural patterns. On this particular evening the focus was on moose, red deer and fallow deer. By driving very slowly along a trail where fodder had been laid out to attract the animals, a lot of data was recorded and this will later be used to evaluate and develop the sensor system.

In the first stage, the system will respond to large animals that risk injuring the driver or passengers in an impact, such as moose, deer and reindeer.

In the U.S., between 1993 and 2007, 2,499 people died in car accidents involving animals on the road, according to the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which reports that road accidents involving wild animals increase by nearly 30% in November. More than 47,000 auto accidents involving wild animals were reported in 2010 in Sweden alone, with the greatest risk of injury being from a collision with a moose.

In fact, James E. Guyette reports a surprising fact in his article on

Moose-motorcar collisions are a serious problem in Sweden, especially when the mammoth beasts are drunk. Yes, it’s true: A recent Swedish media account tells of how autumn brings an annual bounty of fermented apples that the nation’s large moose population loves to eat to the point of intoxication. A man quoted in the piece describes coming home and hearing a strange bellowing sound, only to discover a drunken moose tangled in a neighbor’s tree ‘with only one leg left on the ground.’

You can see a video about Volvo’s system here:

Image by 2sirius (Peter Vanderheyden), used under its Creative Commons license.


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