Some car manufacturers have already installed systems in their vehicles to detect people and animals on the road, which assist in braking and speed control, and prevent accidents. Such intelligent technologies are quickly gaining a foothold as essential components in the development of automated and autonomous vehicles (Figure 5.3.4).
Anti-collision systems may use radar or passive and active infrared cameras to detect potential upcoming collision risks. Algorithms can be employed for image recognition and differentiation of species as well as appropriate response behaviour. Combined with automated braking systems that outperform the driver’s own reaction, collision risks for traffic are likely to be significantly reduced.
New technologies will probably enable vehicles to communicate with others and share information about the presence of potentially hazardous wildlife near the roadway. Early warnings from other vehicles will help to prepare Artificial Intelligence systems and drivers to react in the most appropriate way. It is however, still unclear how well these vehicle based multi-sensor prevention systems may perform and whether they could replace infrastructure based installations. Most likely in-vehicle systems will complement safety measures on minor roads where physical mitigation such as fencing, crossing structures may not be recommended. Whether such systems also would be useful in preventing collisions with small animals is unknown. It depends on the capacity of sensors to detect small-sized animals.