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Future Tech

GM wants to protect animals from ending up as roadkill

In a commendable ambition to save the wildlife and prevent collisions, US car maker considers crowdsourcing info on sightings, habitats and migration paths

Published: 10 Mar 2023

It’s a bit too soon for an April Fools joke and this info first surfaced in early February, so we’re sure it’s legit. Not least because now we’ve seen the patent application, we can confirm that General Motors (GM) is creating a roadkill prevention programme, based on input from road users.

In a system, not dissimilar from the navigation app Waze, GM is looking at ways to notify drivers about potential animal hazards on their journeys, including using crowdsourced reports from other drivers. The patent application describes a combination of fifteen cited methods in which data from various sources could be corroborated to avert animal-car collisions.

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Drivers would then be alerted to potential hazards with information displayed on the centre screen, instrument cluster or head-up display — the company is exploring all the options.

It’s not a completely daft suggestion, since according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), an estimated 74,000 deer are involved in vehicle collisions each year here in the UK — many more with arguably bigger beasts over in North America.

Extrapolate those numbers to include the pheasants, pigeons, cats, dogs and drivers who swerve to avoid animals and it’s arguably a significant enough problem to warrant some attention.

We've already see infrared and radar detection of obstacles, in night vision packages offered by the likes of Jaguar, Mercedes and Vauxhall.

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