Mercedes-Benz’s vehicles have had night-vision capabilities and automatic object recognition for years now. While they can accurately recognise street signs and other lifeless hazards, it’s only now that the company’s fleet — starting with the 2014 Mercedes S-Class — will be able to recognise living, breathing obstacles like cows and kangaroos.
The feature actually took about five years to develop, because recognising the various animals that pose a threat to drivers is a little trickier than spotting humans. But after training the system with images of thousands of animals from around the world, using a pair of infra-red cameras the vehicles can finally reliably warn a driver if one’s wandered onto the road ahead.
In fact in Europe, the S-Class actually shines a spotlight on the animal and tracks its movements so it’s easy for the driver to spot at night, but unfortunately that feature has yet to be approved by authorities. Presumably given concerns over what it might do to the nation’s thriving roadkill industry. [Daimler via Popular Science]
Picture: Kako Fonia/Popular Science