ROCKLIN, NJVolvo is developing a safety system that alerts the driver and automatically brakes (if the driver doesn't react) when animals are on the road in a vehicle’s path. The automaker said it plans to launch the system in a few years. The company said the new system is based on technologies from Volvo’s Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake, introduced in 2010.

"The system consists of two parts, a radar sensor and an infrared camera that can register the traffic situation," said Andreas Eidehall, technical expert in the field of active safety systems at Volvo Car Corporation. "The goal is for the system to function at the normal rural highway speeds. In cases in which it cannot help the driver entirely avoid the collision, the system will slow down the car sufficiently to help reduce the force of impact and thus of serious injuries.”

The camera monitors the road ahead, and if an animal is within range, the system alerts the driver with an audible signal. If the driver does not react, the vehicle automatically applies the brakes.

Statistics from the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show that 2,499 people died in road accidents involving animals during the period 1993-2007. The report also states that the number of road accidents involving wild animals increases by almost 30 percent in November. The largest insurance company in the USA, State Farm, reported that the number of compensation claims for road accidents involving wild animals rose by 14.9 percent between 2003 and 2008.