“Beware of deer” signs are a common sight around rural U.S. towns, but General Motors Corp.'s Holden subsidiary is trying to prevent dangerous car-kangaroo collisions, a consequence of driving in the Australian countryside.

Holden engineers have developed the Robo Roo, a robotic version of real western gray and red kangaroos to simulate impacts. There are about 20,000 vehicle-kangaroo crashes in Australia every year, say Holden officials.

Already in its second incarnation, the mechanical marsupial is taking a serious beating on Holden test tracks but serving an important purpose.

Combined with a computer model, Holden engineers are using data collected to improve collision strength of its vehicles.