Volkswagen Launches 'RooBadge' to Shoo Away Kangaroos

Volkswagen Launches 'RooBadge' to Shoo Away Kangaroos
News by Roberto Orosa
Published: April 02, 2024

Volkswagen Australia just launched a new campaign aimed at mitigating kangaroo collisions on the road. 

According to the automotive company, 90% of animal road collisions in the country can be attributed to kangaroos. 

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A post shared by DDB Group Australia (@ddbgroupaustralia)

To address this, Volkswagen together with advertising agency DDB Sydney, launched the "RooBadge," a device integrated within the Volkswagen badge that serves as a kangaroo deterrent.

How Does the RooBadge Work?

Developed over three years, together with the University of Melbourne, the RooBadge is a "world-first innovation" that serves as a protective audio shield. It uses high-frequency sounds to repel kangaroos and possibly other wildlife from crossing roads.

RooBadge connects to an app installed within the Volkswagen vehicle and uses machine learning to compare its GPS coordinates against data on the distribution of kangaroos.

It then emits audio made from natural and artificial sounds that deter wildlife specific to a certain area. 

How Volkswagen's RooBadge technology works to repel kangaroos.
How the RooBadge Works | Source: Volkswagen Australia

Once a kangaroo is hit with the audio wave, they are alerted of danger coming from the vehicle approaching their vicinity. 

"We're working with sounds that will be meaningful to Eastern-grown kangaroos, like Dingo calls, alarm calls made by birds and the alarm thumps that kangaroos make to warn each other," Professor Graeme Colson of the University of Melbourne said in the video. 

The tool will also be tweaked so it can be effective on other species later on, he added. 

The Testing Phase

To make sure Volkswagen's latest innovation has a meaningful effect, the team conducted control testing for moving vehicles.

"We want a stimulus that is meaningful to the kangaroos and will stay with them, that they'll respond time and time again in a predictable way," Colson explained. 

The company is currently in talks with North America and Europe to allow RooBadge to deter their own native species from dangerous roads. 

"Roadkill is a problem all around the world," University of Melbourne’s Helen Bender explained. "What’s interesting about deer relative to kangaroos is that they’re very similar in body size, head size and ear size."

VW Australia also developed a mountable version of the RooBadge for a more universal use.
The Mountable Number-Plate Version of the RooBadge | Source: Volkswagen Australia

A mountable number-plate version of the RooBadge is also in the works, allowing for it to be installed on any kind of vehicle, not just on Volkswagens.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Director Ryan Davies shed light on the car giant's reason for investing money, time and energy into the RooBadge.

“Because we can and it’s the right thing to do," Davies shared. "A collision with a 'roo can be devastating. It is not easily forgotten once seen, and certainly not if experienced."

Check Out Volkswagen Australia's New Brand Identity in 'Let's Go for a Drive' Campaign

Editing by Katherine 'Makkie' Maclang

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