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Volvo Developing ‘Kangaroo Detection System’ to Cut Outback Accidents

Posted on: November 23, 2015 by Platinum Direct

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Swedish car giant Volvo is working on a system that can predict the unique way Kangaroo’s move, to help prevent you bumping into a boomer on your next outback adventure.

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There are plenty of other camera-based systems that help prevent collisions with other drivers, but this is the first to be kangaroo-specific.

Volvo, renowned for its safety record and innovations, are hoping its ‘moose-avoidance system‘ can be adapted to the ‘roos erratic hopping movements.

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You certainly wouldn’t want to hit one of those!

According to a Volvo spokesperson,

“Kangaroos are very unpredictable and difficult to avoid, but we are confident we can refine our technology to detect them and avoid collisions on the highway”.

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To make sure their kanga-collider is properly ‘k’allibrated Volvo has sent a team of safety experts to a reserve near Queanbeyan, NSW, – the nation’s hotspot for Kangaroo-caused collisions. Queanbeyan is adjacent to ACT, where Kangaroos have made up 90% of all insurer’s animal-collision claims.

The researchers are filming the behaviour of wild kangaroos in their natural habitat to help predict their movement patterns. They sent the team thousands of miles from their Swedish base of operations, as apparently it’s incredibly hard to study wild kangaroos in northern Europe.

The detection system uses a state-of-the-art blend of radar and video capturing to detect obstacles and an automatic breaking procedure that can react 24 times faster than our now obsolete human reflexes.

The radar scans the road for any incomings – if any roving kangaroos are detected the on-board computer attempts to predict its next move. If a collision seems likely, the system will warn the driver of the ‘roo in the road, but if there is no time, the car can slam on the brakes in as little 0.05 seconds.

Danger-roo’s Driving

It may seem ridiculous for Volvo to make such a specific system, but I’m sure almost all of you reading will have had a run-in or a close-call with a kangaroo before, or know someone that has.

Australia-wide we see 20,000 kangaroo crashes every year, causing a huge $75 million of damage.

And it’s not just cars that are the victims of tragedy – in 9 years between 1996 and 2005 over 22 people we killed and 17,000 injured in accidents involving animals in New South Wales alone – with the majority of them involving kangaroos.

As kangaroos can easily top 2 metres in height and weigh over 90kg – and add to this that they could be travelling at up to 70km/ph, it’s no surprise that hitting one of these animals can easily write off a small car entirely.

Also, due to the kangaroos bounding, they can often be directly in line with the car’s windscreen, which is what makes hitting one of these critters so potentially dangerous.

Senator Ricky Muir, representative of the quaintly-named Australian Motoring Enthusiast party, said that it is “great that Volvo is looking at this area”, but worried about technology taking control away from drivers and allowing them to let down their guards.

“I’d be reluctant to travel down a country road at dusk at highway speed in an area known for lots of kangaroos in the hope of the car autonomously avoiding any collision. If my car was to brake every time there was a kangaroo near the edge of the road, it could be a very slow trip.”

However, Volvo responded saying, “this type of technology is not designed to take responsibility away from drivers”. The automatic braking system is intended more as a fail-safe to prevent crashing into animals unpredictably emerging from the undergrowth, and should not be used in favour of manual braking.

Find out more about the Volvo model.

If you are looking for a new car in favour of buffing out the large, kangaroo-sized dent in your old vehicle, be sure to use our Car Finance Calculator to make sure you get the best rates available.

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