Swapping your Bull Bar for a ‘RooBadge’ could save you thousands

Jarrod Brown
By Jarrod Brown
3 Min Read

A simple warning device on the front of Aussie utes could save countless kangaroos and hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. 

Developed over three years by Volkswagen Australia in consultation with the University of Melbourne and Australian Wildlife Rescue Organisation WIRES, the ‘RooBadge’ hopes to reduce roo collisions by emitting a high-frequency warning signal of your ute’s approach. 

Connecting to an in-car app, RooBadge calibrates a vehicle’s GPS coordinates with Australia’s kangaroo distribution data, dishing out a “unique audio deterrent” mixed in with natural sounds designed to send kangaroos running in high-risk areas.

The ‘badge’ itself is a circular disc some 17cm in diameter that would act as a protective shield, replacing the current Volkswagen badge found on the company’s best-selling Amarok. 

While supposed deterrent devices have existed for some time, Melbourne University’s Associate Professor Graeme Coulson said the ‘RooBadge’ does something “no other device” has been able to do before.

“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,” he 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.”

Kangaroos make up almost 90 per cent of on-road wildlife accidents in this country, costing motorists over $28 million in repair costs and more than $6 million in excess payments per year.

The device isn’t available for purchase just yet but after extensive trials, the University of Melbourne has begun testing the device on kangaroos out in the wild. 

According to Ryan Davies, the Director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, a collision with a ‘roo can be devastating for tradies behind the wheel. 

“Why is Volkswagen investing time and energy in this project? Because we can and it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

“It is not easily forgotten once seen, and certainly not if experienced. Then, there’s the possibility of a front-on collision with an approaching vehicle at country road speeds when one driver is trying to avoid striking a kangaroo. 

“These are even more likely to have a fatal human outcome.”

Kangroo-related deaths are unfortunately all too common on Aussie roads. Only last month, a 32-year-old NSW truck driver was killed behind the wheel of a semi-trailer after a kangaroo jumped out in front of the vehicle

Share This Article
Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.