Posting in Design
The dangers of silent electronic vehicles are known; Audi steps in.
Electricity-powered vehicles (also known as EVs) are attempting to break in to the consumer and business market. The infrastructure in many towns is not yet ready to accommodate the charging needs of these types of vehicle, but another concern that may inhibit its attractiveness to consumers is the silent nature of the EV.
Not quite in the way as a friend put it: 'A man likes to hear the roar of his engine', but rather, pedestrian safety is an issue. Unless you have your MP3 player plugged in at full volume, if a car is coming toward you, there is a window in which you can get out of the way.
With a silent EV, however, there is no warning. Sight must be relied upon, and for those that are distracted or have visual impairments, EVs are more dangerous than standard cars -- where you can at least hear the splutter or rev of an engine.
Audi has given this problem its consideration, and is now developing a synthetic engine roar so the company's e-Tron vehicles can be heard by unwary pedestrians.
Audi engineer Rudolf Halbmeir is responsible for the construction of the replica motor sound design. The sound, which will be fitted to all Audi EVs, is not monotonous. Instead, the sound is generated by the millisecond using information gleaned from the car's movements-- including vehicle speed, load and motor speed. The e-Tron then uses a 40-watt loudspeaker attached to the undercarriage to play the electronic sound.
One of the speaker specialists on the project, Axel Brombach, said of the design:
"Out of the building and to the street. A red Audi R8 e-tron pulls up around the corner, purring gently. But when Rudolf Halbmeir taps the gas pedal, the purr turns into a cultivated growl.
Though not unlike an elegant V8, it is especially pure and nuanced, and is shrouded in bright and innovative overtones. The Audi R8 e-tron certainly sounds like a sports car, but also one-of-a-kind and very futuristic."
This artificial and somewhat futuristic sound is loud enough to be heard by nearby pedestrians and cyclists. It may not be great for noise pollution, but it does mean the issue of silent car safety can now be addressed.
For more information, view the video below (Language: German).
Image credit: Audi
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Apr 5, 2012
Cars are already too noisy.Lexus has achieved the noise reduction successfully. WE need peace and quiet while driving. By adding noise to a quiet car one does not achieve the desired result. Audi is never known for making any intelligent cars so far.
About 40+ years ago a friend owned a bubble car which sounded like the starter motor on a normal car had got stuck while running. I decide to liven it up a bit so we fitted a small public address amplifier with a powerful waterproof out door speaker under the bodywork. Connected to the system was a microphone and a cassette player. With pre recorded sound effect tapes we could sit next to expensive sports cars at traffic lights and play tapes of a Ferrari revving up as we waited for the lights to change! The microphone was useful for asking pedestrians to get out of the way,( The tape of machine gun fire was useful too) or my favourite was shouting BANG! When passing overweight ladies struggling up hills on bicycles, or bus stops with bored looking people at them. Hitler speeches went down well in small English country villages on a Sunday, as people could not see where it was coming from. I don???t think the gunfire or Hitler speeches would go down too well now days,( I still think it was funny 40 years later..) but maybe a similar system could be fitted on electric cars for correct uses of course???
I think it is simply outrageous that pedestrians are now expected to look out for approaching cars. Just think of the nuisance tactics taught in schools, at least in my time, to look either way to ensure there is no car coming your way. Pedestrians should be entitled to cross even a highway without looking and texting at the same time. Just think of all the compensation you can sue for by being stupid.
Are for those with medical visual disabilities or flat-out blind. For the rest (texters, mp3 listeners, etc)... Sorry, but I have two words for them. PAY ATTENTION! As an ages old bicycler, you learn to pay attention to all the vehicles around you. Same as a rollerblader, and same as a skateboarder. YOU are far more fragile than a car, so you pay attention to what is around you and could hit you like a pinball bumper. Joggers, motorcyclists, etc, all tend to be more aware. The latter in more trouble because too many drivers act like the people are in cars, the cycle being a vehicle in it's own right. And not being relegated to the side of the road (on highways), they are harder to people to notice as 'that's their lane'.
One of the benefits of EV cars for the driver and passenger(s) is the LACK of annoying engine noise. I'm sorry, but visually-impaired people have no business walking in the street without a guide dog or some high-tech help. Likewise, jogging in the street, especially while listening to music, is something you do at your own risk. And, as pointed out above, if drivers obey residential speed limits and pay attention there's no need for sound. (Exception: I would add a back-up sound to every car that doesn't have a back-up camera.)
Why can't EVs have a unique "car tone" that is selectable by the driver? Maybe you feel like crusing to "Axel F" one day, but feel more like driving an X-wing fighter the next.
The first thing I usually hear on any (stock exhaust) vehicle is the TIRE noise made from rolling over the pavement. Many a car have approached and I THOUGHT that they were a hybrid or an EV, but until close I could not hear an engine nor an exhaust tone. This may be mostly due to the car decelerating for the stop at an intersection but my point is that adding noise to an EV is not really a good solution. The vehicle DRIVER is supposed to (required to) be aware of their surroundings and unfortunately we no longer hold drivers accountable for their part in an accident - it seems to always be blamed on the other guy. Cars already make noise, be it by the wind passing over them or the most noticeable the contact between tires and road. Additional noise is just that... NOISE.