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Australian invention to prevent kangaroo collisions coming to Volkswagen cars

While it looks like a regular, unassuming badge, Volkswagen Australia says that this concealed device could prevent a serious accident with kangaroos.

Volkswagen has unveiled a device called the RooBadge which can prevent accidents between cars and kangaroos.

Collisions with kangaroos account for approximately 90 per cent of on-road wildlife accidents in the country.

The RooBadge utilises a distinct approach to audio-based deterrents by mixing meaningful sounds to kangaroos like bird alarm calls, predatory sounds or kangaroo foot thumps with artificial sounds.

Unlike standard speakers, the RooBadge will use directional speakers to emit a focused beam of sound far ahead of the car, which is where it is most effective.

There are after-market devices available that can be mounted to emit kangaroo-deterring sounds however the RooBadge is integrated where the Volkswagen decal normally is.

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The RooBadge will be easy to install on current Amaroks by replacing the front badge. The device will be connected to an in-car app and calibrates the car’s GPS coordinates with kangaroo distribution data to optimise its sound which will deter kangaroos in that location.

The German car maker says that the RooBadge could save countless kangaroos and hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage whilst reducing the chance of fatal accidents.

Volkswagen Australia has been working on the RooBadge for over three years with the DDB Group in consultation with the University of Melbourne and WIRES, the wildlife rescue organisation.

After extensive trials, Volkswagen has obtained permission from the University of Melbourne Office of Research Ethics and Integrity to progress to Stage Four trials, which will allow testing to be conducted in the wild.

The next phase of trials involves driving slowly to locate kangaroos. Once spotted and within range, the driver will play a random sound and capture the kangaroos’ reactions on video.

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University of Melbourne Associate Professor Graeme Coulson says the RooBadge will go beyond existing kangaroo deterrents.

“[RooBadge does] something no kangaroo deterrent has been able to do before,” he said.

“It’s difficult to produce a single sound that will deter all kangaroos, because the species are different to each other. Using advancements in car technology we can change the sound deterrent by GPS location.

“We have worked on sounds that will be meaningful to Eastern Grey Kangaroos, things like dingo calls, alarm calls made by birds and the alarm thumps that kangaroos make to warn each other. We will then be able to tweak the sound for other species.”

Animal collisions are a worldwide problem with deer being the most significant across North America and Europe. Volkswagen Australia is working with partners overseas to adapt RooBadge to deter deer and other problem animals around the globe.

Volkswagen Australia is developing a universal, mountable version of the RooBadge that will attach to the number plate, which means that it can be installed on any car regardless of the manufacturer.

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