Kangaroos baffle Volvo's self-driving cars during Aussie testing
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Volvo's self-driving system has hit an unexpected bump, or in this case, jump.
While testing the newest generation of self-driving technology in Australia engineers have found a kangaroo sized problem, with Volvo admitting the animals unique hopping motion has baffled its system.
The company already has a 'Large Animal Detection system' that can identify and avoid deer, elk and caibou, but the unique movements of the Aussie marsupial are proving much harder to account for.
Talking with The Guardian, the managing director of Volvo Australia, Kevin McCann, said the findings of Australian testing wouldn't cause a problem for customers by the time Volvo self-driving cars arrive in showrooms from 2020.
“Any company that would be working on the autonomous car concept would be having to do the same developmental work,” said McCann.
“We brought our engineers into Australia to begin the exercise of gathering the data of how the animals can move and behave so the computers can understand it more.”
Earlier this month, Volvo's Australian technical manager, David Pickett, told ABC, the current system uses the ground as a reference point, and the problem seems to arise when the unpredictable roo hops through the air.
"We've noticed with the kangaroo being in mid-flight ... when it's in the air it actually looks like it's further away, then it lands and it looks closer," said Pickett.
"A driverless car does not yet exist, and developing technology to recognise kangaroos is part of that development."
Pickett goes on to reassure customers, "we are developing a car that can recognize kangaroos.”
The testing programme for Volvo's detection system began in Sweden, before trials in Australia revealed the problem with kangaroos.
Its a problem that will need to be solved though - in Australia kangaroos cause more accidents that any other animal, responsible for about 90 per cent of animal related collisions.