Volvo testing kangaroo-avoidance technology in Canberra

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Volvo testing kangaroo-avoidance technology in Canberra

Aims to reduce 20,000 collisions per year.

Swedish car maker Volvo is developing technology that can detect kangaroos to avoid collisions with its vehicles.

The company is currently filming kangaroo behaviour in a Canberra nature reserve, a known hot spot for collisions.

The data from the exercise will be used to develop kangaroo detection and collision avoidance software for Volvo cars.

More than 20,000 kangaroos are struck on Australian roads each year, resulting in more than $75 million in insurance claims.

Volvo's radar and camera technology is intended to automatically apply the vehicle's brakes when a collision is expected.

The company has done similar research in Sweden, albeit with much slower-moving animals like elk and cows.

"Kangaroos are smaller than these animals and their behaviour is more erratic. This is why it’s important that we test and calibrate our technology on real kangaroos in their natural environment," Volvo senior safety engineer Martin Magnusson said in a statement.

“Kangaroos are very unpredictable animals and difficult to avoid, but we are confident we can refine our technology to detect them and avoid collisions on the highway."

The detection and avoidance software is part of Volvo's plan to have no injuries or fatalities in any of its new vehicles by 2020.

The technology is an adaption of Volvo's City Safety system, which detects cars, cyclists and pedestrians.

It includes a light sensitive, high-resolution camera and radar sensor in the grille for detection. A windscreen camera also works with the radar to work out where the animal is moving and whether to take action.

Volvo said the system processes 15 images every second and can react to an emergency in half the time of a human.

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