New Animal-Detection Systems Help Drivers Avoid Accidents


  • Volvo Animal-Detection System Picture

    Volvo Animal-Detection System Picture

    Animal-detection systems, like the one on the 2015 Volvo XC90, are among the latest in high-tech safety features. | January 13, 2014

2 Photos

Just the Facts:
  • Automakers from Audi to Volvo are rolling out new animal-detection systems as safety equipment takes another step forward.
  • The 2015 Audi A8's Night Vision Assistant now offers animal detection that highlights larger animals in the vehicle's path.
  • Volvo says an animal detection system will be introduced some time after the 2015 Volvo XC90 arrives by the end of 2014.

DETROIT Automakers from Audi to Volvo are rolling out new animal-detection systems as safety equipment takes another step forward. Some of the systems were displayed at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.

The 2015 Audi A8's Night Vision Assistant now offers animal detection that indicates large animals in the vehicle's path. This setup is able to highlight larger animals such as deer and provide a warning to the driver if the animal is in danger of entering the vehicle's path.

Volvo says an animal detection system will be introduced some time after the 2015 Volvo XC90 arrives by the end of 2014. The Swedish automaker's system will detect and automatically brake for animals in daylight and in the dark.

The Volvo Concept XC Coupe, which is on display at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, hints at the 2015 XC90.

"Initially, Volvo Cars is focusing on large animals, as they cause the most damage and the most severe injuries," the automaker said in a statement.

BMW and Mercedes-Benz are also at the forefront of sophisticated systems that detect pedestrians and animals.

The 2014 BMW X5 features a night vision system that can detect people and animals. It is a $2,600 option on the X5.

Mercedes-Benz is rolling out the Night View Assist Plus system.

When Night View Assist Plus is activated, the display in the instrument cluster changes from the standard dial-type speedometer display to one showing the Night View Assist view. An infrared camera is used to show the road ahead on the display in the instrument cluster . The vehicle speed is then shown on a bar graph speedometer at the bottom of the instrument cluster.

A recent study by State Farm showed that the number of deer-related collisions in the U.S. is on the rise.

State Farm estimates 1.23 million collisions caused by the presence of deer occurred in the U.S. between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012.

Over the last four years, the number of deer-related claims paid by the auto insurer has increased 7.9 percent, while other similar auto claims have declined 8.5 percent.

The average property damage cost of these incidents during the final half of 2011 and the first half of 2012 was $3,305, up 4.4 percent from the year before.

Edmunds says: Expect the cost of these systems to decline as they become more commonplace on vehicles.

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