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Volvo readying roo recognition

Beastly: Each year 47,000 animal collisions are reported in Volvo’s native Sweden and tens of thousands happen in the back blocks of Australia.

Aussie wildlife to be detected by Volvo animal collision avoidance tech

Volvo logo20 Feb 2013

VOLVOS could become the car of choice for Australians who live in, or regularly visit the bush as the Swedish company’s upcoming animal avoidance technology will be able to detect native fauna such as kangaroos.

On his first visit to Australia for the launch of the new V40 hatchback in Adelaide this week, Volvo Car vehicle line director Hakan Abrahamsson told GoAuto the Animal Detection system would simply require calibration to recognise Australia’s unique creatures.

“When it comes to detecting if it is an animal or kangaroo, it is about mapping what they look like and calibrating the system to tell the difference,” he said.

Animal Detection is still at prototype stage and Volvo is yet to announce when it will become available on production cars but Mr Abrahamsson said the system will “of course” be able to detect kangaroos.

“Our ambition is to not come into an accident, that is where we are striving when we come that far with technology development and legislation makes it possible we will go that route.”

More than 10,000 crashes with or involving animals on the road were reported across Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales between 2001 and 2005, while 47,000 animal collisions are reported each year in Sweden.

An Australian study of animal related road accidents between 1990 and 1997 discovered that 42 per cent of animal-related road fatalities involved drivers taking evasive action.

Unlike Volvo’s lauded Pedestrian Detection technology, which is more geared to city driving, Animal Detection is designed to work at highway speeds of between 100km/h and 110km/h.

An infra-red night vision camera can detect animals from up to 30 metres away provides advance warning to the driver and automatically slows the car to less 80km/h if a collision is unavoidable to reduce the impact and enable safety systems like airbags to better protect occupants.

“We have much in common between Sweden and here in Australia because we have the elks and we are afraid of them,” said Mr Abrahamsson.

“It is a serious threat on the roads and we have accidents quite frequently and (an elk) is even bigger than a kangaroo.

“I think we have a common understanding of the need to protect ourselves and protect them, we don't want to hurt them either.”

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