What is Volvo teaching its cars to watch for on the road?

Answer: moose

by / January 31, 2017

While many automakers are piloting driverless cars and teaching vehicles to think more like humans, Volvo’s installing a new Large Animal Detection system in its models that can spot and identify whatever fauna cross the car’s path and hit the brakes.

The tech uses radar to recognize animals by matching what the camera sees with a database of shapes, and it’s programmed based on where the car is sold: In Sweden it's moose and elk; in the U.S., the camera looks for deer; and in Australia, it’s kangaroos. The feature is packaged with Volvo’s “city safety” package, which can also identify pedestrians. 

And in case the car does hit a moose, Volvo’s all over it. They have a “crash moose” in the lab, helping engineers design structural defenses like using reinforced boron steel in the windshield frame. The tech is in line with the automaker’s “Vision 2020” plan to eliminate all serious injuries and deaths in its cars in the next four years.