Although April 1 is right around the corner, the RooBadge is as real as it gets. While modern car badges incorporate all sorts of radars and sensors, this Volkswagen logo is different. It has built-in directional speakers that emit a carefully selected beam of sound to keep kangaroos away. It serves as an audio-based deterrent and it's being developed for all vehicles, not just VWs.

As you might have guess, the RooBadge ("Roo" is the shortened form of "kangaroo" in Australian English) has been developed Down Under. VW joined forces with kangaroo behaviorists from the University of Melbourne to learn more about the cute mammal belonging to the marsupial family. Australian wildlife rescue organization Wires is lending a helping hand by providing real-time data about where kangaroos are located throughout the continent.

Volkswagen RooBadge

Aside from the badge itself, VW Australia is also working on a separate license plate holder that incorporates the RooBadge. The new technology is shown here on an Amarok, but the plate will be universally compatible. These two items are currently not available for sale because there's still testing that needs to be done to perfect the sound that comes out of the tiny speakers.

Initially, the RooBadge will serve as an Eastern Grey Kangaroo deterrent, but subsequent sounds should also keep Western Grey Kangaroo and Red Kangaroo away. Other animals are being considered to further lower the risks of a collision with wildlife. In the initial phase, VW tested the sounds on kangaroos found on golf courses and then came up with a mix of natural and synthetic noises.

After that, Amarok pickup trucks equipped with directional speakers, 360-degree cameras, and motion sensors were strategically placed for six months in locations where kangaroos migrate. VW monitored their reactions and confirmed the RooBadge is effective. After testing the tech with stationary vehicles, the company received approval from The Office of Research Ethics to evaluate the hardware with moving Amaroks being driven at slow speeds.

Developed in three years, RooBadge will work with a dedicated app inside the vehicle that will use GPS and telemetry data. It'll automatically emit sounds through kangaroo collision hotspots. On the Amarok, it’s going to be offered as a plug & play solution by replacing the original badge with the high-tech VW logo.

Despite the bad timing, this seems too elaborate to be just a prank. VW says it's already talking with partners from Europe and the United States to make RooBadge a deterrent for other animals.

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