Volvo Car Corporation is launching a new active safety system that automatically senses larger obstacles in the car’s path and applies the brakes. When the system detects a large hazard (deer, cattle or elk) in the roadway ahead, the system first audibly alerts the driver and then applies the brakes to avoid the animal or object to reduce the risk of accident and injury to the animal and vehicle occupants. The automatic detection technology may also recognize a reflected smaller signal from a pedestrian under certain conditions.
Based on integrated camera and infra-red light technologies, the system “registers” traffic situations both in the daylight and in the dark. The camera monitors the road ahead and if a larger-sized animal is within range, the system alerts the driver with an audible signal. If the driver does not react, the brakes are automatically applied.
“The goal is for the system to function at the normal rural highway speeds. In cases in which it cannot help the driver entirely avoid the collision, the system will slow down the car sufficiently to help reduce the force of impact and thus of serious injuries,” notes Andreas Eidehall, a technical safety expert working with Volvo in a news announcement.
In Sweden, more than 40,000 accidents involve animals and vehicles, many causing serious injury or death to either or both the person and the animal.
According to The US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has reported that 2,499 people died in road accidents involving animals from 1993-2007. November is the most dangerous month statistically with 30% of the incidents. The largest insurance company in the USA, State Farm, reports that the number of compensation claims for road accidents involving wild animals rose by 14.9 percent between 2003 and 2008 in the announcement by Volvo.