VW Has A Plan To Stop Aussies Hitting Kangaroos With Our Cars

VW Has A Plan To Stop Aussies Hitting Kangaroos With Our Cars

When I lived in NSW’s Upper Hunter region as a kid, my Dad fitted our family Ford Falcon station wagon with what we called ‘roo whistles’ – tiny little plastic things that you mount to the front of your car, with the idea being that they emit a high-pitch noise, that keep kangaroos from jumping in front of your car.

Now Volkswagen has cottoned on to the idea and has released a new device that aims to stop Kangaroos hopping in front of cars, the RooBadge.

This is not an April Fools joke, this is a real thing and what I think is a genuinely good idea (Editor’s Note: I had to confirm this wasn’t an April Fools prank, as the timing was a little too coincidental).

Roobadge seems a bit more sophisticated than the earlier mentioned roo whistles, the company claims that it developed Roobadge over three years in collaboration with the University of Melbourne and WIRES Wildlife Rescue. Why? Well, 90 per cent of Australia’s animal-related car accidents are caused by the kangaroo. It’s genuinely a safety concern to have for people living and travelling in kangaroo-heavy regions.

Unlike simple whistles, Roobadge functions with an in-car app. The badge replaces the standard Volkswagen badge on the front of the car (you simply plug it into where the current badge is), with the car’s connectivity software supposedly communicating with kangaroo distribution data. Depending on where the car is driving through, a sound unique to the kangaroo species living in that area is emitted, based on warning sounds the roos would be used to.

“It’s difficult to produce a single sound that will deter all kangaroos, because the species are different to each other. Using advancement in car technology we can change the sound deterrent by GPS location,” Melbourne University Associate Professor Graeme Coulson said.

“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.”

What’s next for Roobadge? Well, it moves forward in testing to moving vehicles. Volkswagen and its partners are now set to test the system on Roos in the wild.

The company is also developing a number plate-mountable version of the speaker that can be fitted to other cars.

Everyone’s a winner. Your car doesn’t get totalled, and kangaroos don’t get turned into roadkill.

Image: Gizmodo Australia

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