VW's RooBadge aims to curb vehicle-wildlife collisions

SYDNEY: Volkswagen is advancing automotive safety in Australia with the development of RooBadge, an innovative protective audio shield designed to prevent collisions with kangaroos.

In Australia, collisions between vehicles and kangaroos are a frequent occurrence, with tens of thousands of incidents reported annually. These collisions not only pose a threat to human safety but also to wildlife.

Volkswagen's initiative aims to address this issue by leveraging technology to create a safer environment for both drivers and kangaroos.

RooBadge, a result of years of research and development in collaboration with the University of Melbourne and wildlife experts, employs machine learning and GPS data to identify and deter specific kangaroo species based on their geographic location.

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The device produces a focused beam of sound using directional speakers, blending natural kangaroo deterrents—such as the alarm calls of birds, predatory sounds, and kangaroo foot thumps—with synthetic sounds. This approach ensures the sounds are meaningful and effective in deterring kangaroos.

The device integrates seamlessly with Volkswagen vehicles through a plug-and-play installation on the Amarok's front badge and is controlled via an in-car app. This app activates the RooBadge in known kangaroo collision hotspots and provides updates through cloud connectivity.

Moreover, Volkswagen has partnered with wildlife organisations like WIRES to collect real-time collision data, enabling the RooBadge to adapt to new kangaroo hotspots.

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To extend the benefits of RooBadge beyond Volkswagen owners, the company is developing a universal version that can be mounted on any vehicle.

The technology has the potential to be adapted for deterring other animals in different regions, such as deer in Europe and North America, highlighting its global applicability.

The initiative represents a significant step forward in the effort to mitigate animal-vehicle collisions through technology.

However, RooBadge is still in the testing phase, with ongoing optimisations based on field data and sound profiles.

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Autos Volkswagen