Cattle Avoidance Feature In Indian Autonomous Cars

An autonomous vehicle feature that is not commonly sought by American consumers is "cattle avoidance". However, it is very important in India.

Writing in the International Journal of Vehicle Autonomous Systems, researchers from India describe a real-time automatic obstacle detection and alert system for driver assistance. Sachin Sharma and Dharmesh Shah of the Department of Electronics & Communication, at Gujarat Technological University, in Ahmedabad, India, point out that an increased incidence of road crashes in their country correlates with increasing wealth and the surge in vehicle numbers this development has wrought. They add that road infrastructure is not keeping pace with traffic demands especially in roads connecting villages and towns. Moreover, on busy, imperfect roads, the Indian cow represents a significant obstacle that must also be taken into account...

Sharma and Shah’s collision alert system uses a dashboard camera and an algorithm that can determine whether an object near the vehicle is an on-road cow and whether or not its movements represent a risk to the vehicle. A timely audio or visual indicator can then be triggered to nudge the driver to apply the brakes whether or not they have seen the animal. The algorithm requires optimization and the issue of night-time driving is yet to be addressed, the team says.

I don't know of any sf writer (or anyone else, for that matter) who predicted the cattle avoidant autonomous vehicles. However, in his excellent 2006 novel Sagramanda, Allan Dean Foster does deal with the problem:

As he removed the electronic key that would unlock his front door and disarm the alarm he had to scurry sideways to avoid the familiar warning beep of a municipal cattle remover. The hulking vehicle slowed as it neared the pair of cows who had settled themselves atop and alongside the grassy median that divided the several lanes of traffic. He did not bother to stop and watch as the driver went about the business of gently slipping the teflon-coated metal scoop beneath the first animal...
(Read more about municipal cattle remover)

Via Inderscience and Real-time automatic obstacle detection and alert system for driver assistance on Indian roads.

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