Volvo's New Pilot Assist II is Designed to Curtail Animal Collisions
【Summary】The new system is capable of detecting large animals from a distance of 200 meters via radar and camera components located on the external body of the vehicle. This feature is active even when the car is moving at very slow speeds.
In cold regions across the globe, where bears, moose and coyotes roam the land, animal road collisions are a serious problem. According to national Canadian provincial sources, over 25,000 large animal accidents occurred per year between 1998 and 2000. Furthermore, based on a report from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, roughly 9,900 car accidents involving animals happen in rural areas (80 percent involving deer).
The latest data from provincial sources show that such collisions are increasing at steady rate of 7.55 percent per year. For insurance companies, the yearly cost of deer-vehicle accidents is $31 million annually, which is comparable to impaired human driving-related car crashes at $33 million. Automakers, like Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz, already have systems in place to prevent drivers from hitting animals on public roads. These features leverage night-vision and infrared detection to "see" past fog and snow – beyond what can be seen using headlights with high color temperature ratings (between 4,100K and 5,600K).
Pilot Assist II
Not to be left behind, Volvo recently rolled out similar anti-collision capabilities in its latest navigational platform: Pilot Assist II. This highly robust system can be found in the new 2017 S90 sedan. The original Pilot Assist first launched in the XC90 SUV, which will receive an update to the second edition in the near future. For the S90, there are several new ADAS features that are designed to keep pedestrians, animals and passengers safe.
"We've been talking about large-animal detection since 2011," Jim Nichols, product and technology communications manager for Volvo, told Cars.com. "This technology is an advancement from our pedestrian and cyclist technology. There are thousands of large-animal strikes each year that cause significant damage, injury and in some cases, death."
When it comes to preventing animal collisions, the new system is capable of detecting large animals from a distance of 200 meters via radar and camera components located on the external body of the vehicle. This feature is active even when the car is moving at very slow speeds. In the event the vehicle detects a large animal on the road, the system engages the driver with a loud warning notification and flashing lights from the dashboard.
Algorithmic Breaking System
What if the driver doesn't react? To ensure the safety of all parties involved (animal and passengers), there is a second anti-collision layer that forces the car to slam the breaks at 30 percent capacity. It is important to consider that hitting the breaks hard outside of this threshold in snowy conditions is not advisable and may cause the vehicle to veer off the lane or roadway. At 30 percent breaking capacity, this should still offer full control of the car in such situations. This "last resort" feature is in place to reduce the level of injuries and damages sustained from the accident.
"This tech was designed to tackle the global issue of large-animal strikes on the roadway," Nichols said. "It has been adapted to each market. In the United States, large-animal detection is primarily for deer and elk; in Australia, it's kangaroo."
Michael Cheng is a legal editor and technical writer with publications for Blackberry ISHN Magazine Houzz and Payment Week. He specializes in technology business and digesting hard data. Outside of work Michael likes to train for marathons spend time with his daughter and explore new places.
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