Your Volvo Will Keep You Safe from Moose (Mooses? Meece?)


Volvo Large Animal Detecition

Volvo has been keeping people safe inside its cars for decades. More recently, the company began looking for ways to keep everyone on the road safe– and that includes people riding other cars, urban cyclists, and even the occasional moose who happens to wander into traffic.

You read that right. Since 2015, Volvo has been working on technology spot, identify, and avoid collisions with oversized animals. That tech helps to stop the car before it collides with mooses meece moose in Northern climates, kangaroos in Australia, and even deer in the US.

To make it work, Volvo’s engineers started by studying animal behavior. “We put a lot of effort in seeing how animals moved and teaching the computer to look for that movement,” said Volvo lead safety engineer Malin Ekholm in an interview with Wired. “You can’t just tell a moose to run across the road, so we created initial captures of real animals and then simulated variations of their movement for the computer.” The system matches up sizes and shapes of “known” animal threats, and even has a database of common behaviors programmed in so it always knows how to behave to avoid a collision. That means that, while it may not be exactly “green tech” in the way we normally think about it here at Gas 2, it certainly helps to keep human machinations from impacting the local wildlife … literally!

You can read more from Ekholm, directly, in this tech review from Wired, and check out a few official Volvo pictures of the system, in action, in the photo gallery, below.


Volvo Large Animal Detection

Source | Images: Volvo, via Wired.

About the Author

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.
  • trackdaze

    If they are successfull with the kangaroo then there is hope for.civilisation.

    I would like to see the algorithm for a kangaroo. I would imagine its something like

    =if giant oversized rabbit anywhere on or near the road then “kangaroo” then aim directly at it (as this is its least probable position) then have all avoidence systems, seatbelt pretensioners air bags primed as its mates are likely to be a couple of bounds away.

    • Alex

      Kangaroos and wallabies are by far the biggest traffic hazard where I live. Self-driving tech without Kangaroo avoidance would be next to useless in 90% of the driving I do. While hitting one of these animals is unlikely to be fatal for the driver, it is a major cost to vehicle ownership in regional Australia. I will be interested to see if Tesla can implement such a system.

    • Steve Hanley

      The first Teslas in Austraila with Autopilot could not recognize kangaroos. The system classified them as “large dogs.” But over time, the system learned to identify them and predict their actions.

      What many do not fully appreciate about Tesla’s AP is that every car shares everything it knows with every other car. So now, if a driver in the Swiss Alps should encounter a kangaroo, it will know exactly how to handle the situation, even though it has never seen one before.

      Tesla is light years ahead of the competition when it comes to autonomous driving. Whether you like falcon wing doors or need a HEPA filter for your car, the AP system is one of the miracles of modern technology. No one else has anything like it.

      • trackdaze

        Herd intelligance is definetly a high value asset and in certanly in short supply in the trumpliocean

        What about the ones that skip alongside you…give you a wink and then proceed to headbutt the side of the car and make a real mess of the boat following?

  • Rick Danger

    Hey Jo! Watch me pull a rabbit out of a hat!