Mercedes' vehicles have had night vision capabilities, and automatic object recognition, for years now. And while they can accurately recognize street signs, and other lifeless hazards, its only now that the company's fleet—starting with the 2014 Mercedes S-Class—will be able to recognize living, breathing obstacles like cows, moose, and deer.
The feature actually took about five years to develop, because recognizing 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 in the US. Presumably given concerns over what it might do to the nation's thriving roadkill industry. [Daimler via Popular Science]
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