Chevrolet's range extender hybrid tests device aimed at warning pedestrians
27 November 2009

General Motors is testing a noise emitting device on its Chevrolet Volt aimed at warning pedestrians, particularly the blind, of its presence.

Noise emitting devices on near-silent electric cars and hybrids are not a legal requirement, but GM is keen to install such a system on the Volt. At a recent test Milford Proving Grounds in the US, GM tested the progress of its system in an experiment involving visually impaired people.

Volt engineers have used the car's horn to emit a series of warning chirps when a pedestrian is in proximity of it, evaluating the nature and level of the warnings to alert pedestrians rather than startle them.

Andrew Farah, the Volt's chief engineer, said in his official blog: "A recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) demonstrated that the silent operation of low-speed hybrid vehicles is an issue for all pedestrians, not just the blind. In certain situations, electric or hybrid vehicles are twice as likely to be involved in collisions with pedestrians.

"Vehicle sound is not noise; it’s an audio cue and information – for everyone. Whether we’re aware of it or not, we constantly rely on our sense of hearing as we go about our daily lives.

"This is precisely why Chevrolet, GM, and the National Federation of the Blind [NFB] are cooperating to identify a safe level of sound to alert the blind and other pedestrians to the presence of low-speed, silent-running electric and hybrid vehicles.

"A few weeks ago, several NFB members recently experienced a demonstration of the pedestrian warning alert on a pre-production Chevy Volt at our Milford Proving Grounds. They evaluated the alert from the front, sides, and rear of the car.

"We will continue working with the NFB and other groups to gather the critical feedback we need to help create an industry standard so that the sound emitted from EVs is recognisable as the sound of an automobile and detectable by everyone

A GM spokesman said the system would be optional on the first-generation car, but any future models would likely to have a more refined version of the technology included as standard.

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Comments
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27 November 2009

How annoying is it going to be, living in a world of electric cars all driving around, chirping away?.

It's bad enough having to listen to reversing sensors on all manner of commercial vehicles (and yes, I'm sure they have saved many an accident and saved lives but they are still annoyng).

Surely the simplest answer is to go to the makers of the Grand Turismo games and use their expertise to fit a system that replicates some of the greatest engines ever made?. You could have a menu and choose for your car to sound like a Ferrari V12, a Porsche flat 6 or how about a chevy V8?. It's got to be better than driving around sounding like a demented song bird!.

27 November 2009

A bit pessimistic the article doesn’t say what the sound would be like. Maybe you would get the option to choose what your car sounds like. This is a money making opportunity for someone, like voice downloads for sat nav and ring tones for mobile phones. www.CarSound.com download all the sounds of the classics for $10 ea

27 November 2009

On this issue, the worst decision is going to made by the worst people.

The opportunity to have relative tranquillity is one of the most positive potentialities of the coming world, dominated by the electric car.

What will happen, in hysterical reaction to the false danger of billions of blind people and annoying children being mown down - their plaintiff screams piercing the beautiful silence, is that there will be some shrill buzzing or piercing whine or music or tinkle, which will pollute the outside like a squadron of burgled houses.

The nature of electronically produced sounds is that they are irritating because they don't modulate organically and are not harmonically random and complex, in the way that, conversely, the IC engine is. In thirty year's time, there'll be a study demonstrating that we have all gone deaf at the frequency at which this warning siren operates.

If you're blind or a horrible child, you should be issued with a little box, perhaps implanted, that signals that you are blind or a horrible child to the oncoming car, whereupon the car acknowledges your existence and screams "Duck!" or "Jump!" (whichever is most appropriate).

When the warm, nourishing tones of natural engines have disappeared, what we don't want is a world full of cars beeping, or, even worse, piping out people's choices of beeping and inane autotuned screeching known as iPod playlists. Where the latter would supposedly serve to warn horrible children, it would actually serve only to excite the modern psychological disorder of massed individuals who have no imagination imposing a pre-packaged, synthetic identity on an artificial humanity in order to virtually feel a sense of simulated approval in an makeshift social village.

In this dystopian future overrun with blind people and unmaimed horrible children, no longer will one's identity be comprehensively defined merely through writing "guitar" on, and staring inanely out of, a Facebook account and listing one's favourite cinematic Vampire orgies, but our very cars will signal to [hoverported] pedestrians that we are, let's say, an Ewok category. Can you imagine what will happen if someone forgets to turn-off his Ewok signature siren and accidentally drives into an area full of cars blaring out N-Bomb-category siren signatures? All-out virtual warfare via the in-car X-Box! That's what!

Be warned, Luddites of tomorrow's world!

27 November 2009

Its driver actuated and less that annoying than a standard horn, which means you can still run over the blind and horrible children if you care to. ;)

The Sounds of the Chevrolet Volt

You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows
—Robert Allen Zimmerman

27 November 2009

[quote jackjflash]Its driver actuated and less that annoying than a standard horn,[/quote]

I'm glad it's driver activated because it would be very annoying to hear that beeping noise in the middle of the night if your Volt driving neighbours were arriving home.

27 November 2009

[quote Lee23404]I'm glad it's driver activated because it would be very annoying to hear that beeping noise in the middle of the night if your Volt driving neighbours were arriving home.[/quote]

Someone mentioned somewhere it might be easier to just have a cane for the blind that vibrates a bit when an electric car is nearby, similar to feedback computer joysticks. It could also be used to thump parents to stupid to keep their children out of the street, that part was my idea. ;)

You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows
—Robert Allen Zimmerman

27 November 2009

-jackflash - i think you can get vibrating canes, if memory is good then i think they used ultra sound and i am pretty sure that vibration could differ dependent on object.

-you can also get directional alarms like on ambulances etc - i think they are fitted now emergency vehicles.

-in a few years a lot of people currently blind will be able to see, they have done some amazing things with bits of teeth, those mini cameras are coming on a treat and most recently reported the radiation thing.

- maybe something installed in glasses (shades) ??

27 November 2009

I do like the "flat 6 " sound from the Lotus/Halosonic system.

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