The car Manufacturer Volvo has always had a reputation of putting safety first and now they have gone a step further in developing cars using anti-collision systems. The company targets new vehicles that will debut in 2020, but it is likely that some of this technology will appear as early as 2014 and will target big animals like horses.
Volvo has decided to develop fully autonomous cars that will detect horses on the road and stop the car. This is meant to enable the cars themselves to take control if a driver fails to respond or if a critical situation is anticipated. According to Anders Eugensson, the Head of Government Affairs at Volvo, the new technology will create cars that act like a farmer’s horse. The horse will refuse to walk into a tree if the farmer falls asleep after steering the horse and the carriage.
Horse-related accidents are on the rise in the United States. For instance, there are about 60 major crashes involving horses and buggies reported every year in Pennsylvania and Ohio every year. Statistics also show that about 1% of those accidents are fata; with the driver of the vehicles misjudging how slow the horse is travelling, or sudden appearances of the horses.
The next generation road safety system will comprise of two parts---an infrared camera and a radar sensor will be used to detect objects along the road while driving in the. The goal is to dramatically reduce road accidents that occur each year involving collisions with horses. Such collisions are normally serious and those involving big animals such as horses can be very dangerous because their height makes them prone to crash into the windscreen. The technical team at Volvo has been targeting larger animals such as red deer, horses, fallow deer, moose to enable them detect the animals.
This technology is similar to that being developed for Google self-drive cars that can also sense obstacles on the road as well as approaching trucks. The safety feature will first send a warning to the driver for immediate action, but should the driver not respond for some reasons, the car will automatically apply the brakes. As already mentioned, the goal is to reduce the number of accidents involving horse that occur each year.
However, the biggest challenge of this technology is gathering enough data in order to perform wholesale recognition of shapes and the moving patterns of the horses. This is because the movements of animals are rather random and it would be difficult to consider this randomness. For instance, sudden appearance of the horse along the path may be too sudden for a car moving at a high speed to react. However, this problem will be solved by reducing the moving speed from 100km/h to 80 km/h. The system’s reaction time is about half a second, but it is being argued that that had to be reduced even further if the system is to become more effective.
Another challenge is that most animals are invisible by nature especially at night. Therefore, the system will need more views and angles if them than the pedestrians will.
Anti-collision technology called Safe Drive Systems has already been launched in America to save lives by. Over the next decade, we are hopefully going to witness a lot of advances in technology in the automobile industry.
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