volvo animal detection

Volvo’s new technology is a further development of pedestrian-detection already available (Photo: Volvo)

Volvo has developed a safety system that helps avoid collisions with animals.

In Sweden, where the carmaker is headquartered, there were 47,000 road accidents involving wild animals, according to the Swedish Advisory Council on Accidents Involving Wild Animals. And in the US, 2,499 people died in such accidents in the period 1993-2007, according to the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Volvo system, which uses a radar sensor and an infra-red camera, is a further adaptation of the company's pedestrian-detection technology. It alerts a driver and will automatically brake for animals to mitigate or avoid a collision.

When the system goes into production in a few years, it will, at first, only respond to large animals that risk injuring drivers or passengers in an impact. That reflects the particular high incidence of accidents involving moose in Sweden.

"In an impact with a moose there is a relatively high risk of personal injury since it is common for the animal to end up on or roll across the front of the car and its windscreen," says Andreas Eidehall, an active safety specialist at Volvo.

The technology still requires further development work, Volvo said. The system needs to "learn" to recognize various animals and decision-making mechanisms need to be improved.

Volvo, which is owned by China's Geely, has long been in leader in safety technology. With competition from other premium carmakers increasing in this field, it has been increasing its rollout of new safety technologies.