In Sweden, there are 47,000 wildlife accidents every year. When moose are involved, the consequences are particularly severe because the animal’s long legs and high centre of gravity mean that the upper body strikes the car’s most vulnerable area, the windscreen. Moose are also a major problem in North America, while deer are involved in most wildlife accidents in Germany.
“We look at the accident statistics and address the greatest challenges first. First, we addressed the pedestrian accidents, a major problem with many fatalities. We are now working on wildlife accidents, mainly involving moose and deer, because we are focusing on the largest animals and the most severe personal injuries,” says Andreas Eidehall.
The new system will comprise a radar sensor and an infrared camera that can register the traffic situation. When an animal is discovered on or at the side of the road, the system provides a warning so the driver can brake. If the driver does not have time to react, the car brakes automatically – with full braking capacity if necessary.
The goal is to avoid the accident all together. However, because animals can pop up very quickly, it is an advantage if there at least is a reduction of speed to below 80 km/h.
“Then, there are rarely any severe injuries since airbags and girders are enough to protect the driver; a good example of how active and passive safety technology works together,” says Andreas Eidehall.
The project to develop a safety system that reduces the risk of collisions with wild animals is a part of Volvo Cars’ vision for 2020 – that no serious injuries or fatalities will take place in a new Volvo.
Read more about Volvo's Animal Detection Technology