Volvo eyes kangaroo detection tech
Skippy on radar, hit the brakes
Swedish motor manufacturer Volvo is developing "kangaroo detection" tech aimed at reducing the number of collisions between metal and marsupial.
The company reckons there are "20,000 kangaroo strikes on Australian roads each year costing over AU $75 million in insurance claims". It already has the "City Safety" system, which scans the road ahead for animals and pedestrians using a radar sensor and hi-res camera, automatically hitting the brakes if necessary.
Adapting that to eyeball kangaroos is a challenge, according to Martin Magnusson, Volvo's senior safety engineer. He explained: "In Sweden we have done research involving larger, slower moving animals like moose, reindeer and cows which are a serious threat on our roads.
"Kangaroos are smaller than these animals and their behaviour is more erratic. This is why it's important that we test and calibrate our technology on real kangaroos in their natural environment."
Indeed, a team has been in the Australian Capital Territory this week "to film and study the roadside behaviour of kangaroos in their natural habitat".
Any driver who's ever been in a near-miss with a kangaroo Down Under will confirm that they can come from nowhere in the blink of an eye. Volvo's system promises to hit the brakes in "milliseconds - much faster than a human reacts".
The roo-dodging initiative is part of Volvo's "vision that no one is killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020", according to the company's Oz MD Kevin McCann. ®