Kangaroo Confusion Delays Rollout of Driverless Cars in Australia.
Julie Scott, a writer from Angel Content sent me this piece asking me to publish on my blog. Having read it through, I was happy to help Julie out. Frankly, I’ve never seen kangaroos called into question in relation to autonomous cars, particularly kangaroo confusion. I suppose that given that a lot of research is being done in South Australia, maybe they’re having issues with Skippy that we folk in the eastern states aren’t aware of. And what about Wombats, Koala’s, Crocodiles, Echidnas and even Snakes? So if you’d like to know more about driverless cars, here’s an article to give you some up to date information
Could it be like the moose in Canada, where these silly animals, well, they just walk into traffic and given the size of said moose, they can cause a lot of damage to cars – driverless cars (autonomous) or not.
So read on McDuff – see what you can make of this passage from Julie and more particularly the other commentators.
“The automotive industry has experienced much Innovation over the years; however driverless cars software has presented many challenges that are still to be resolved. One such problem has been recently discovered when the self-driven vehicles were tested in Australia: kangaroo hopping confuses the system.
While the driverless cars have been attuned to the behaviour of people crossing roads and walking on the sidewalks, the kangaroo’s movement has baffled the system. Kangaroo crossings are a frequent occurrence in Australia, and many end up killed on the roads each year due to their erratic hopping; according to the NRMA, there are more than 16,000 collisions with kangaroos a year across Australia.
As driverless cars technology has discovered, the patterns of a kangaroo’s movement can be difficult to predict!
The driverless car’s technology is catching the kangaroo’s movement mid-hop, and as the system uses the ground as a reference point for spatial awareness, an airborne kangaroo appears much further away. When the kangaroo lands on the ground, it suddenly seems much closer to the vehicle, thus causing the confusion for the technology. Without fixing this problem, driverless technology wouldn’t be safe to use on Australian roads as the vehicles are likely to collide with crossing kangaroos, killing the animal and potentially killing road-users too – especially if the driverless cars caused pile-ups on busy roads.
This isn’t the first time that the driverless technology has faced problems identifying wildlife.
When the product was tested in Sweden, moose proved to pose some difficulty in identifying.
The large animal software was eventually nailed down and given the green light for safety. When it comes to the kangaroo problem, however, progress has been slower. Despite conducting research at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in Canberra over 18 months ago, kangaroo detection has not been smooth sailing.
When asked about the issue, Volvo Australia’s technical manager, David Pickett, explained that in order for the large animal software to successfully work out kangaroo patterns of movement, first, the different kangaroos have to be identified. This is difficult work as every kangaroo is a different shape and size.
As Pickett explained: We identify what a human looks like by how a human walks, because it’s not only the one type of human — you’ve got short people, tall people, people wearing coats. The same applies to a roo.
Further problems: the technology has faced on its trial run in Australia is the many unsealed roads, unmarked highways and the huge road trains which are regional only to Australia.
The driverless cars systems have yet to grasp the quirks of Australian roads just yet, but the team are confident that they can rectify these problems quickly. Indeed, despite the initial setbacks with the technology, Pickett is confident that driverless technology will be available on the Australian market sooner than we might think, and perhaps one of the very first countries to experience this new, innovative technology.
Rita Excell, Executive Director of Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative confirms the maturity is much further along than maybe is publicly aware.”
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