Kangaroos confuse driverless cars

27 June 2017

Credit: idiz/Shutterstock
Credit: idiz/Shutterstock

The Large Animal Detection system of Volvo's driverless cars may keep on top of deer and the like, but kangaroos move in a way that is hard for it (and us) to apprehend.

The Swedish car-maker's 2017 S90 and XC90 models use its Large Animal Detection system to monitor the road for deer, elk and caribo; however, the unique movements of kangaroos cause it confusion.

"We've noticed with the kangaroo being in mid-flight when it's in the air, it actually looks like it's further away, then it lands and it looks closer," its Australia technical manager told ABC.

According to the Australia's National Roads and Motorists' Association, 80% of animal collisions in the country involve kangaroos: more than 16,000 kangaroo strikes each year created millions of dollars of insurance claims, it said.

Volvo's safety engineers began filming kangaroos' roadside behaviour in a nationally recognised hotspot for collisions in 2015.

Moreover, the data is being used to create a system of radar and cameras that can detect kangaroos and apply the brakes if a collision is imminent.

Volvo has an ambitious target: to ensure no-one is killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020.

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