Published July 02, 2013
| News Corp Australian Papers
Strike me kangaroo down, sport. Swedish car maker Volvo is developing technology that can avoid kangaroo collisions.
There are about 20,000 collisions with kangaroos in Australia each year according to insurance industry data.
But Volvo is working on a system that uses radar and camera technology to detect rogue roos - and automatically slam on the brakes if the driver does not.
It's an advancement of technology originally developed to detect pedestrians; later this year the same setup will enable selected Volvo cars to also detect cyclists.
"It will be a challenge to detect kangaroos because they are not as predictable as livestock and other large animals," Martin Magnusson, a leading Volvo safety engineer, told News Limited at a safety conference overnight. "But we think we can come up with a way to detect them."
Volvo is in the early stages of development but "animal-detection" technology should be on the road within three years.
"We are starting with the large animals first, the ones that pose the greatest risk to drivers, such as a moose, a horse, or a cow, then we are working on ways to detect other animals, including kangaroos," Magnusson said.
Unfortunately man's best friend - dogs and cats - are not on the list of those to save. "Driver safety is not an issue when it comes to a collision with those animals. Of course it's a pity, and I happen to like cats, but there are no plans to [detect dogs or cats]," Magnusson said.
Volvo says it will do most of the development work on kangaroos by using computer simulations. It will then create a kangaroo crash test dummy similar to the one used by [GM-owned] Holden for decades.