There are over 20,000 kangaroo strikes on Australian roads each year, costing approximately $70 million in insurance claims. So, Volvo has decided to work on a remedy.
The Swedish automaker, known for its innovative safety solutions, recently sent a team of experts to the Australian Capital Territory to film and study the roadside behaviour of kangaroos in their natural habitat. The data they collect will be used to develop the first-ever kangaroo detection and collision avoidance system.
“In Sweden we have done research involving larger, slower moving animals like moose, reindeer and cows which are a serious threat on our roads,” said Martin Magnusson, Senior Safety Engineer at Volvo Cars. “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.”
He added: “Whereas Volvo Cars’ Pedestrian Detection technology is geared towards city driving, our kangaroo detection research is focusing on highway speed situations. 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.
These mammals normally average speeds of 20-30 km/h, but they can sprint as fast as 90 km/h in some cases.