Volvo Car Corporation is taking the next step in active safety by developing a system that alerts and automatically brakes for animals on the road. The new system will be launched on the market in a few years’ time. The project to develop a safety system that reduces the risk of collisions with wild animals is part of Volvo Car Corporation’s vision for 2020 – that nobody should suffer serious injury in a new Volvo. The new system is based on technologies from the Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake.

Volvo Car Safety Radar System for Animal Collision Detection & Automatic BrakeVolvo Car Corporation developing next generation of active safety systems that can help avoid collisions also with animals – is being under development. The system consists of two parts – a radar sensor and an infrared camera that can register the traffic situation when driving in the dark. It is essential for the system to also function in the dark since most collisions with wild animals take place at dawn and dusk and during the dark winter months. The camera monitors the road ahead and if an 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.

One challenge facing the engineers is to teach the system to recognise different animals. A development team from Volvo Car Corporation spent an evening at a safari park digitally logging film sequences of animals and their various behavioral patterns. In the first stage, the system will respond to large animals that risk injuring the driver or passengers in an impact, such as moose, deer and reindeer. Various technologies are currently being evaluated, software is being developed and while the system “learns” to recognise various animals, development is also under way on the necessary decision-making mechanisms, that is to say how and when the protective system is to respond.