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Volvo Prevents Roadkill With New Animal Detection Technology

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Swedish carmaker Volvo has introduced a new driver assist aimed at identifying large animals and avoiding potential carnage on the road.

Its all-new 2017 S90 sedan is touted to be the first car providing Large Animal Detection with Autobrake, which trains sensors and software on deer, moose, elk and other large creatures plying the streets.

The technology follows similar innovations introduced over the past few years that help drivers better detect and avoid pedestrians, cyclists and the like.

Forbes reported that at its event this week in Spain, Volvo promised to launch the S90 with the technology that employs radar for object sensing and a camera for spotting it, yet the real magic lies in its software.

All three parts work together to determine if a large animal is standing somewhere on the road or moving across it, with the data crunched real-time by a mix of camera analysis, processing and image database capabilities to decide when to activate the system.

The motorist is warned with audio and visual alerts once the system is triggered. Even if he or she does not react immediately, the brakes work to avoid or at least mitigate the impending impact, which is like how pedestrian detectors launch full auto brake.

Given the rising incidence of vehicles colliding with large animals, the new detector is deemed a welcome one. Estimates showed that over 1.2 million deer-vehicle accidents took place in 2013, while almost 200 human deaths in car collisions involved the animal — cases that translate to over $4 billion in damages.

Slash Gear also dubbed the S90 a declaration of war against Volvo’s competitors in the midsize luxury segment.

“[T]he 2017 Volvo S90 takes much of its SUV cousin's charm and condenses it into a form-factor better suited to take on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series,” its review noted, lauding its “moose detector” and other innovative features such as the Road Edge Mitigation to track markings that delineate the road’s edge and contrast detection between the road surface and the area beyond.

The S90 has plenty of rivals in its segment, including the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Lexus GS and Acura RLX. Perhaps toughest to beat, according to Slash Gear, are its German trio of competitors, especially without a V6 or V8 option in the roster.

Volvo, however, is confident that there are enough drivers out there seeking “a Scandinavian sanctuary,” with the average American spending 26 minutes or more a day commuting and indulging in their only alone time inside the car.

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