Print 37 comment(s) - last by thurston.. on Jun 15 at 8:36 PM

Nissan Leaf  (Source: Nissan)
Leaf will get artificial "sound" sweeteners

On a number of occasions, DailyTech has discussed a concern that appears to be growing among advocates for blind pedestrians. With the rise of hybrid vehicles which run nearly silent at low speeds and fully-electric vehicles, many blind pedestrians are concerned that they won't be able to listen for typical audible cues present in modern internal combustion engines.

The NHTSA is already working on guidelines that would require hybrids and electric vehicles to produce sounds that can be heard by pedestrians at low speeds. However, Nissan it taking matters into its own hands with the upcoming Leaf electric vehicle.

The Nissan Leaf will use a sine-wave sound system that will "whistle" while the vehicle is traveling at less than 19 mph. According to Just-Auto, the sound system will sweep from 2.5kHz to 600Hz.

In addition to the artificial sound while driving at low speeds, the vehicle will also make intermittent sounds when put into reverse to alert people. And in a nod to traditional gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles, the Leaf will make a louder sound when first started up to alert pedestrians to the vehicle's presence.

You can watch a YouTube video of Nissan's system here.

Nissan has already sold of its initial allotment of Leaf EVs for the U.S. market (roughly 13,000 vehicles). The vehicle is priced at $32,780 before a $7,500 federal tax credit and can travel up to 100 miles on a charge.

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Making things too complicated
By DanNeely on 6/14/2010 11:54:16 AM , Rating: 2
There's a universally recognized sound that indicates "car being driven near by"; a whistle isn't it.


RE: Making things too complicated
By ekv on 6/14/10, Rating: 0
RE: Making things too complicated
By Hieyeck on 6/14/2010 1:22:18 PM , Rating: 2
At least it's not Mazda. They might've used that silly Zoom Zoom whisper that kid makes.

Actually, scratch that. They should use it. Just to poke fun at the silliness of this addition. The first time someone takes it into a shop, the mechanic will plug the speaker with chewing gum and 'forget' to remove it.

RE: Making things too complicated
By Orpheus333 on 6/14/2010 1:39:50 PM , Rating: 5
I don't understand why the sound is needed at all. Its almost punishing the majority of us who can see just fine with noise pollution for the benefit of the much smaller blind population. Why not have cars emit a radio frequency which would be picked up by a headphone like device which would be given to the blind. Closeness would be estimated by increasing volume. Cuts down on noise pollution, the blind are aware of cars: win-win?

RE: Making things too complicated
By lowsidex2 on 6/14/2010 3:26:22 PM , Rating: 5
I'd take a slightly different approach and give blind pedestrians a big helmet with a bright yellow rotating beacon on it making them more visible to the driver. A million blind in the US, maybe a third venture down sidewalks on his or her own, it'd be a lot cheaper.

Seriously though, I'm 36yrs old and have lived in large and small cities and have seen maybe a handful of blind persons my entire life. For that I have to have a whistle or fake engine noises or something on what should be my nice quiet car? The many get so screwed over in this country by the few.

RE: Making things too complicated
By ClownPuncher on 6/14/2010 7:18:06 PM , Rating: 2
Give blind people sonar. It would probably cost less overall to fit a few hundred thousand blind people with sonar helmets rather than force car companies to add this to millions of cars.

RE: Making things too complicated
By ekv on 6/15/2010 2:48:42 AM , Rating: 2
Give blind people sonar.
Wasn't that a Star Trek episode? 8)

RE: Making things too complicated
By thurston on 6/15/2010 8:36:14 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe we should just euthanize them.

RE: Making things too complicated
By Phoque on 6/14/2010 11:00:28 PM , Rating: 2
I don't believe only the blind would benefit from that feature. I believe a lot of people start crossing a street without looking when they don't hear any vehicle noise.

Some cyclists too could be surprised by a vehicle passing them if they did not hear it coming, especially if they were avoiding a bump/hole on the road.

Now, I think that whistle thing could still get some sound improvement.

RE: Making things too complicated
By TSS on 6/15/2010 5:45:48 AM , Rating: 4
I propose another device. A simple, yet complex contraption that could be activated by the driver to instantly and audibly alert any nearby pedestrians, be it blind or non-visually impaired, at high decibels to ensure maximum safety. These should be fitted to all cars, preferably on the steering wheel for fast acces.

Maybe coupled with some strange machine that magically slows down a car. Incase a deaf person walks by who doesn't see the car comming. And those people don't carry a stick so you don't know if they'll dodge the horn or not.

RE: Making things too complicated
By thurston on 6/14/10, Rating: -1
RE: Making things too complicated
By chick0n on 6/14/2010 11:32:51 PM , Rating: 3
Of course, cuz they're blind so they have all the right

you can see and walk and whatever perfectly fine so nobody cares.

I dont care what system they're putting it in, as long as it has a speaker/horn and crap anybody can "defeat" this stupid noise making device.

When was the last time I see a blind person? too long to remember.

By AnnihilatorX on 6/14/2010 4:06:04 PM , Rating: 2
Completely unnecessary. Car travelling under 19mph are too slow to cause great injury, unless the driver is total retard and accelerate instead of braking.

I feel sorry for blind people for their disability but it's not their right to rob us of a quiet urban enviornment of the future.

By marvdmartian on 6/15/2010 9:10:50 AM , Rating: 2
So does this car do a "wolf whistle" when it passes a pretty girl?? ;)

By dtgoodwin on 6/14/2010 1:08:42 PM , Rating: 2
I was hit by a Lexus LX400H pulling out of a parking stall. The woman had been sitting in her vehicle as I approached to load my baby into my vehicle as well as groceries. She started backing up with absolutely no indication, it had appeared to me that she was waiting for someone, and hit me with her mirror. Fortunately, I just barely saw it coming and missed any significant injury - especially to my feet which were right in the way of her front tires as she turned toward my vehicle as she backed out.

RE: Useful
By dtgoodwin on 6/14/2010 1:10:03 PM , Rating: 2
Make that an RX450H.

RE: Useful
By UNHchabo on 6/14/2010 2:44:16 PM , Rating: 2
If she had been sitting in her car for several minutes, and you heard the engine idling, would it have changed your behavior at all? Personally, I still would have gone over to my car door, expecting that someone would look where they're going before having their car run over a strip of pavement. For me, the situation would not have changed whatsoever by the car having a hybrid or electric powertrain.

RE: Useful
By xmichaelx on 6/14/2010 4:17:52 PM , Rating: 1
You should be more careful -- especially when you have your baby with you. (BTW- The accident would be her fault, noise or no. The driver of any stationary car is responsible for making sure no pedestrians are about to get flattened when the car begins moving.)

RE: Useful
By dtgoodwin on 6/15/2010 10:40:05 AM , Rating: 2
I'm always very careful. There was no indication whatsoever she was doing anything other than sitting in her vehicle. I was there for 2 solid minutes standing beside my vehicle. I have good hearing, and am very aware of what's going on around me. Any other conventionally powered vehicle and I immediately would have reacted at the first indication of action. Yes, it was an unusual set of circumstances, but still proves the point that they can be more dangerous in completely silent mode.

By Flunk on 6/14/2010 12:02:20 PM , Rating: 5
At under 19MPH a lot of current conventional vehicles don't make any appreciable engine noise. The sound of the tires and air disturbance is really what you hear most of the time.

This entire thing about blind people seems to be orchestrated by people with nothing better to do. It's not even as if blind people (not in large numbers at least) are complaining about this.

RE: Stupid
By hughlle on 6/14/2010 12:16:01 PM , Rating: 2
indeed. i don't quite understand how it is being so seriously considered. blind people will have properly trained dogs or family/friends to start with. the noise is a good point as is always brought up.

if this is the case for cars, then i'm sorry but why is there no advocacy for bikes, joggers, you name it, all of which might very well not notice the blind man randomly walking out in front of them. being knocked over without being able to see to brace and protect your head.

it's all plain silly. the only time i can see the blind person being at risk is if they are being reckless (no dog/guide) and putting other people at risk. i don't like the principal of blind peple walking through busy cities with nothing but a stick, it's just inviting trouble.

Customize the sounds...
By HalJordan on 6/14/2010 12:03:49 PM , Rating: 3
If this is to be mandatory, at least let owners customize the sounds. Better yet get celebrities to record the warnings and "car running" notifications...

James Earl Jones, Larry King, Paul Reubens (PeeWee Herman), Britney Spears, Snoop Dogg, take your pick...

I would go with Samuel L. Jackson. Imagine, every five seconds or so..."Get out the D*** Way, Mother F******! I'm late, B****, I'm late!"

RE: Customize the sounds...
By frsg on 6/14/2010 2:09:01 PM , Rating: 2
I'm totally putting this as my custom sound:

this just in...
By inperfectdarkness on 6/14/2010 3:45:01 PM , Rating: 3
bubb rubb now works for nissan.

wire snippers
By Alphafox78 on 6/14/2010 11:42:41 AM , Rating: 2
I know what my first mod will be on this car!

By roadhog1974 on 6/14/2010 7:49:01 PM , Rating: 2
with hand held trackers.


External sound system
By tygrus on 6/15/2010 1:37:15 AM , Rating: 2
Can they make it sound like a supercar or superbike with throttle control ?
Can we make it play "It's not easy being green" or a tone that increases freq. when speed increases.

Custom sound
By werfu on 6/14/2010 1:42:40 PM , Rating: 1
LOL Imagine having Move Bitch from Ludacris playing!

Not Related...
By droplets on 6/14/2010 11:42:58 AM , Rating: 2
but, you know what I hate? Certain late model GM cars that turn on the white reverse lights when you use the remote unlock. Those are reverse lights.

And I have mild distaste for cars that share a turn signal with a brake light.

That is all.

RE: Not Related...
By dtgoodwin on 6/14/10, Rating: -1
RE: Not Related...
By semo on 6/14/10, Rating: -1
For all of you "ANTI Sound" posters.
By PAPutzback on 6/14/10, Rating: -1
By callmeroy on 6/14/2010 2:33:36 PM , Rating: 4
There are plenty of morons that drive faster than 19 around housing where children play.

1. Sound or no sound, this won't prevent people from drive fast in residential areas - some people simply Do. Not. Care.

2. How about not allowing your kids to play near the street in the first place? Particularly if we are talking pre-teen age kids. I don't have my own kids but I'm a rather proud uncle 13 times over, I've fairly active in all my nephews and nieces lives as well. The little ones I never allow to play in the front near the street, its in the backyard or its nothing.

3. Trust me on the deer thing....sounds of engines don't scare them. I've seen it way too many times.

By Redwin on 6/14/2010 3:55:28 PM , Rating: 2
And since this is for people in front of you I would assume the sound would be directed that way. So unless you car goes faster than the speed of sound, you should not hear it

My horn faces forward, and my car is not supersonic, yet I can still hear it. It might be a little doppler-shifted, but its definitely still there.

By Keeir on 6/14/2010 4:32:07 PM , Rating: 3
1. They are going about it the wrong way. Instead of requiring a "sound" for certain cars, ALL cars should be required to prodce X decibels at Y distance at Z mph.

2. Why in world do people think its okay to teach children to play on a roadway ? Would you just let your dog roam around the roadway? Didn't think so.

3. It will need to go in a 180 degree arc at a minimum. Probably 270 degree arc. (People/Cycles/Etc can be approaching the car from the side or a slant to car where the car is outside the typical range of visibility)

4. Noise Pollution is pretty serious. Spend some time walking in any major city... or get a call from someone walking in a major city... electric cars have the potential to drastically reduce the noise of a city...(sirens, signals, etc can all be quieter if the background noise level drops)

RE: For all of you "ANTI Sound" posters.
By piroroadkill on 6/15/2010 4:46:15 AM , Rating: 1

By virusul on 6/15/2010 7:48:01 AM , Rating: 2
Another useless car, wat can you make if you need to make 300 miles in a day, 100 miles range is ridiculous, i make that distance with my bicycle in a day, electric car will worth buying when the range is abut the same as a full tank of petrol or diesel, witch we use mostly in Europe i mean around 500 miles or 700-800 KM, until then is just a toy car or fashion item not a car.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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