While animal detection technology already exists in their vehicles, Volvo says this was originally developed for slower moving animals like cows, reindeer and moose. The faster and more erratic movements of kangaroos required new thinking and a recalibration of existing technologies.
According to the NRMA, there are over 20,000 kangaroo strikes on Australian roads each year, costing over $75 million in insurance claims alone, without factoring in the human costs in terms of injuries and fatalities.
The technology used to prevent kangaroo-related accidents will be a development of Volvo Cars' Pedestrian Detection technology, but will be modified to factor in the highway speeds at which most kangaroo strikes occur, using both radar and camera technology to detect 'roos and automatically apply the brakes if an accident is deemed to be imminent.
"The Volvo Cars City Safety technology is a true state-of-the-art technology, because the brakes can be primed in milliseconds - much faster than a human reacts," explained Martin Magnusson, Senior Safety Engineer at Volvo. "We are only at the beginning of what is possible."
A Volvo Cars research team recently travelled to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve near Canberra - a hotspot for kangaroo strikes - to study the roadside behaviour of kangaroos in local conditions.
Technology like that currently being developed for Australian conditions is a part of Volvo Cars' vision that no-one is killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020.