Deer Detecting Road Technology Being Tested In ColoradoSAn electromagnetic sensor system capable of automatically detecting the presence of large animals on or near roadways and alerting drivers to their presence is being tested in Colorado. So far, the system appears to be working; the only problem might be the drivers themselves. Colorado is trialing the system on a road where up to 70% of all accidents involve vehicles colliding with animals. But how does it work? Cables have been buried in the ground several feet from the road, running parallel to it. The electromagnetic field they emit has been calibrated to detect the interruptions caused by deer, elk, or other large animals passing over it. Signs positioned along the roadway then light up to alert drivers to the presence of the animals. For the trial phase, radar detectors are being used to calculate both the volume of traffic and its speed. Should the alerts be capable of convincing a significant enough portion of drivers to slow down when animals are present, the system could be rolled out across frequent animal crossings statewide. We’d love to see technology like this applied to roadways. Combined with other advanced warning systems like BMW’s night vision-equipped 7-series it could make the road a safer place for humans and animals alike. [via Treehugger; photo nrcdeer.com]