Infrared Thermal Camera-Based Real-Time Identification and Tracking of Large Animals to Prevent Animal-Vehicle Collisions (AVCs) on Roadways


Debao Zhou

May 2012

Report no. CTS 12-15



Animal vehicle collision (AVC) is constantly a major safety issue for the driving on roadways. It is estimated that there are over 35,000 AVCs yearly resulting in 3 to 11 deaths, over 400 personal injuries, and close to 4,000 reported property damages of $1,000 or more. This justifies the many attempts that have been tried to detect large animals on road. However, very little success has been achieved. To reduce the number of AVCs, this research used an infrared (IR) thermal imaging method to detect the presence of large animals and to track their locations so drivers could avoid AVCs. The system consists of an infrared-thermal-image grabbing and processing system and a motion control system to track the objects. By analyzing the infrared thermal images, the presence of deer in surrounding areas have been identified, and thus tracked. Since the IR thermal imaging is independent of visible light, the system can work both day and night, even in bad weather. The system can cover a circle area up to 1,000 feet in radius for the identification of an object the size of an adult human being.

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Sponsored by:

ITS Institute (RITA)