As per National Roads & Motorists’ Association (NRMA), Australia reports over 20,000 accidents related to Kangaroos every year. Most of these accidents kill the national animal of Australia on the spot, if not seriously injure them. Apart from the death / injury which is inflicted to the animal, the car is also severely damaged, amounting to insurance claims worth over $75 million.
In order to solve this problem, Volvo has sent a team to Australia equipped with some special equipments. The job of this team is to collect data about Kangaroos, how they behave, how they react while crossing roads on seeing a car, etc. Using this data, Volvo plans to develop a technology which will reduce the number of Kangaroo related accidents in Australia. Volvo calls this Kangaroo Detection Technology.
Currently the Volvo team is at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve near Canberra, where they are collecting the data. The idea is to tune their Pedestrian Detection technology, which uses radar and camera to detect humans on the road and brake automatically.
The same logic applies in the case of Kangaroo Detection Technology. But, as per Martin Magnusson, Volvo’s Senior Safety Engineer – “Kangaroos are very unpredictable animals and difficult to avoid. 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. We are confident we can refine our technology to detect them and avoid collisions on the highway.”
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So will this take the braking controls away from drivers in an event of Kangaroo detection? – “This type of technology is not designed to take responsibility away from drivers. If the driver is inattentive the car will warn him or her and eventually intervene with hard braking to avoid a potential collision” – adds Magnusson.