Print 52 comment(s) - last by monkeyman1140.. on May 28 at 4:15 PM

All-electric Tesla Roadster
One of the benefits of having an electric car is about to be erased

There are many good things about hybrids and electric vehicles. They save fuel costs for the drivers and produce less pollution. However, for some people hybrids and electric cars pose a big problem, particularly for the visually impaired.

A bill was proposed in April of 2009 in the Senate that would force automakers producing electric and hybrid vehicles to integrate a system that would produce sound when the vehicles are running on electric power alone. Many hybrids and electric vehicle running at low speeds produce no sound to alert a pedestrian that the vehicle is coming.

CNN reports that a study conducted last year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that hybrid cars tend to hit pedestrians more often than other cars because the pedestrians can't hear the car approach, particularly in areas where the car can't be seen. Ahead of any legislation by Washington, carmakers have agreed with blind advocates to propose plans to Congress for minimum noise levels on hybrid and electric cars.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Association of International Automobile Manufactures, the National Federation for the Blind, and the American Council for the Blind have banded together to propose language to be included in the Motor Safety Act of 2010. This bill would create a number of new safety rules for automakers; some of these rules are to address issues like unintended acceleration.

While the exact details of the proposed sounds for hybrid and electric cars are unknown,
CNN reports that the sound would mimic the sound patterns of internal combustion engines at low speeds with rising intensity as the vehicle moves faster. This would allow blind pedestrians to determine if a vehicle was idle at a stop light or accelerating from a standstill. The NHTSA would be in charge of choosing the sound and setting the minimum level.

And for those looking to “pimp your ride”, you wouldn't be able to customize the sound coming from the vehicle.

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No fair!
By MrBlastman on 5/24/2010 11:08:51 AM , Rating: 4
And for those looking to “pimp your ride”, you wouldn't be able to customize the sound coming from the vehicle.

This is bogus. We should be allowed to change it.

It would be fun to ride around after using a vocoder to change your voice to that of a robot saying:

"I will eat your peoples." :)

Us geeks demand modability!

RE: No fair!
By Brandon Hill on 5/24/2010 11:11:44 AM , Rating: 2
T-Pain for cars!

RE: No fair!
By Gul Westfale on 5/24/2010 11:21:17 AM , Rating: 5
i'd make it play the collected works of stevie wonder, just for the irony.

RE: No fair!
By andylawcc on 5/24/2010 5:13:41 PM , Rating: 2
six worthy!

RE: No fair!
By Anoxanmore on 5/24/2010 11:30:23 AM , Rating: 2
On the bright side, I can forsee an awesome parody of "I'm on a Boat" changed to "I'm in a Car".

Hmm... another thing to patent.

RE: No fair!
By justjc on 5/24/2010 12:24:15 PM , Rating: 2
Sad to say but it's already been done, sadly with a lot of room for improvement. Just look at

RE: No fair!
By Anoxanmore on 5/24/2010 2:54:02 PM , Rating: 2
I'll write a better one tonight ;)

RE: No fair!
By Sazar on 5/24/2010 1:47:22 PM , Rating: 3
Tubthumping by Chumbawumba would be the perfect accompaniment.

I get knocked down
But I get up again
You're never gonna keep me down

RE: No fair!
By Mr Perfect on 5/24/2010 12:57:50 PM , Rating: 4
Personally, mine would be the Crazy Frog car sound.

RE: No fair!
By Integral9 on 5/25/2010 10:10:41 AM , Rating: 2
I think they should sound like they are running on bubbles, like the car from the Absent-minded Professor (1961) :)

Engines or Tires?
By DaveLessnau on 5/24/2010 11:36:11 AM , Rating: 5
During my walk yesterday, I noticed something about the sound of approaching vehicles. The only time I heard engine noise from one was if it were a diesel or a a big truck. Almost all the time, the sound that warned me of an approaching car was the tire noise, not the engine noise. This was in a fairly low speed environment (25 - 35 mph). Is there actually any data comparing the total noise of moving electric vs IC cars?

RE: Engines or Tires?
By MozeeToby on 5/24/2010 12:10:17 PM , Rating: 5
And we have a winner!

At anything less than a crawl the tire noise is going to drown out the engine noise. In a quiet area you can hear a car coming down the highway from literally a mile away, and it's not the engine making the noise. I can maybe see some kind of noise for when the vehicle is moving at less than 10 mph, but making it ramp up with higher speeds is just plain stupid.

RE: Engines or Tires?
By Smartless on 5/24/2010 2:33:28 PM , Rating: 2
Umm I don't know if the article was changed but the target of these noise-makers are for say, parking lots so basically yes a crawl. A Prius is quieter than a shopping cart at low speeds. I did a paper on traffic noise modeling in college and you're right, Doppler effects normally compress engine and gearing noises leaving mainly tire noise. Also in city driving, a Prius switches to battery so basically when someone's in a crosswalk and a butthole is making a turn the blind guy will never hear it coming. I thought this law was absurd since noise pollution is a problem too but then again, a 3000lb hunk of metal is still a 3000lb hunk of metal.

RE: Engines or Tires?
By bh192012 on 5/24/2010 6:12:54 PM , Rating: 2
What about blind and deaf people? Shouldn't all cars have an electromagnetic emitter and some kind of force feedback belt blind and deaf people can wear? (ohhh my left side is jiggling, must be an oncomming car in that direction) Then cars can be silent again.

RE: Engines or Tires?
By afkrotch on 5/24/2010 8:14:28 PM , Rating: 2
I'd prefer cow catchers.

RE: Engines or Tires?
By Indianapolis on 5/24/2010 10:28:55 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know if you were trying to be funny, but for some reason your comment had me cracking up. And that's a bad thing since I just had hernia surgery and laughing really hurts. Jerk!

RE: Engines or Tires?
By xmichaelx on 5/24/2010 3:46:10 PM , Rating: 2
Blind people develop super-human hearing, more equivalent to dogs than regular humans. Didn't you see Daredevil?

Dumb Queston(s)...
By maevinj on 5/24/2010 11:51:49 AM , Rating: 2
Why are blind people walking in the street? And if they are in the street, shouldn't they be accompanied by someone/something that can see and alert them?
Is this going to start a trend of everything silent needing to make a noise?
What about my ultra quiet pc that is on the floor? Will I be required at some point to have it make a sound so that a blind person won't trip over it??
Maybe we sould equip blind people with active sonar...

RE: Dumb Queston(s)...
By geddarkstorm on 5/24/2010 12:27:49 PM , Rating: 2
Um... blind people aren't a new phenomenon. And this isn't just for them, but pedestrians in general. We all rely on the sound of a car to help us stay aware.

RE: Dumb Queston(s)...
By fic2 on 5/24/2010 4:08:33 PM , Rating: 4
Non-blind pedestrians should have learned to look both ways when they were in 2nd grade like the rest of us did. That way they could see my bicycle coming at them. I guess next bicyclists will be required to put playing cards in their spokes to sound like a motorcycle.

RE: Dumb Queston(s)...
By JediJeb on 5/25/2010 12:03:59 PM , Rating: 2
Just use the playing cards in the wheels of the hybrids, that would be the cheap way to solve the problem.

RE: Dumb Queston(s)...
By chick0n on 5/24/2010 11:47:07 PM , Rating: 2
non-blind people should keep their eyes on the fucking roads, not on their iPhone/iPod/PSP/NDS/Chick's boobs.

This is why when ppl get hit, unless the driver ran thru a red light, I just dont pity them. I just think they fucking deserves it. oh, NYC got a lot of those assholes. they just love to walk without looking.

Quiet cars don't kill people, bad drivers do
By mattclary on 5/24/2010 1:26:48 PM , Rating: 3
Quiet cars don't kill people, bad drivers do. This is a case of drivers expecting pedestrians to get out of their way. While nothing ticks me off worse than a pedestrian taking a leisurely stroll in front of my car, that does not negate my need to not run them over.

By Farfignewton on 5/24/2010 1:46:28 PM , Rating: 5
Quiet cars don't kill people, bad drivers do.

It's not always bad drivers, there is no shortage of stupid pedestrians. Many seem to think a crosswalk is some kind of force-field or that what they don't look at cannot run them over like two tons of steel.

By xmichaelx on 5/24/2010 3:50:17 PM , Rating: 3
I hit a pedestrian on my motorcycle once. Turned a corner, and there was a guy strolling across the road in heavy traffic like he was walking through the park. His leg snapped like a twig, and the nice cops gave him a jaywalking ticket as he lied there on the asphalt moaning.

People who jaywalk IN TRAFFIC get what they deserve.

By Alphafox78 on 5/24/2010 12:15:53 PM , Rating: 5
This sounds like a piece of legislation that only exists so that the people who wrote it can say they did something. 'hey, look at me, we helped blind people, we do care!' Total baloney.

RE: stupid
By tastyratz on 5/24/2010 4:57:28 PM , Rating: 2
The most ironic part?
I cant wait to see what gets pork barreled on this one.

For some reason it goes in as a bill to help the blind, but leaves with fund allocation for massage parlor construction outside senator homes...

Here we go
By shin0bi272 on 5/24/2010 12:12:05 PM , Rating: 2
Here comes the nanny state again. Oh no this new item could be a danger to a small section of the country we have to regulate it even more than it already is. When does it end people? When do we all stop voting for these bleeding heart liberals and namby pamby kiss asses who just want power and money?

RE: Here we go
By lelias2k on 5/24/2010 1:52:30 PM , Rating: 1
I sincerely hope you never get handicapped in any way. It would be a shame for you to have to go through what these people, who are not a few by the way, go on an everyday-basis.

On top of this, the law will probably be more helpful to regular pedestrians, as they have less accurate hearing than blind ones.

RE: Here we go
By JediJeb on 5/25/2010 12:09:06 PM , Rating: 3
But the regular pedestrians have eyes that they should learn to use to avoid oncoming vehicles. As someone mentioned above, outlaw walking and using the cellphone, iPod, ect if you want to really protect them and the ones they run into.

Not enough
By nafhan on 5/24/2010 12:57:37 PM , Rating: 3
I'm going to start a campaign for mandatory reflectors on all pedestrians. I don't have the numbers yet, but I'm pretty sure that far fewer pedestrians wearing bright orange reflective vests get hit by cars. Secondly, pedestrians should be required to scream "I'm crossing the street" while transiting a motorized vehicle through way.
This audio/visual pedestrian identification update would cost less than $20 per pedestrian and can be retrofitted onto existing models with little effort. Yeah, safety!

RE: Not enough
By lelias2k on 5/24/2010 1:57:10 PM , Rating: 1
Except that the pedestrian is not the one who's going to kill who's in the car. (not in most cases anyway...)

While I do think that pedestrian need to be more responsible, that doesn't change the fact that drivers are the ones "carrying a loaded gun."


RE: Not enough
By wolrah on 5/25/2010 2:07:14 AM , Rating: 2
While I do think that pedestrian need to be more responsible, that doesn't change the fact that drivers are the ones "carrying a loaded gun."

The pedestrians we're complaining about are about equivalent to someone running across a military gun range during target practice with automatic weapons, to run with the gun analogy. The retards who walk out from blind areas without even looking or jaywalk at night while wearing all dark clothing. As far as I'm concerned drivers shouldn't have to worry in the slightest about these idiots. They're intentionally putting themselves in harm's way, it's their own fault if they get hit and I have no sympathy for any injury or death that may result. If you care about your life, don't walk out in to traffic.

Right here
By Etern205 on 5/24/2010 11:42:37 AM , Rating: 2
I've seen a lot of Chinese people with these electric scooters. It's battery operated, you charge it through a standard outlet and has bike pedals so you can ride it like a bicycle if the battery runs out.

And those are dead silent.

RE: Right here
By Etern205 on 5/24/2010 11:46:32 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Right here
By lelias2k on 5/24/2010 1:44:54 PM , Rating: 1
Have you been to China?

If so, then you'd know those people couldn't care less for pedestrians, blind or not...


My car
By ZachDontScare on 5/24/2010 4:31:32 PM , Rating: 2
I want my car to go 'wakka wakka wakka wakka' like Pac Man

RE: My car
By Omega215D on 5/24/2010 6:56:52 PM , Rating: 2
Or it'll go OM NOM NOM NOM when it hits pedestrians.

Let's just....
By monkeyman1140 on 5/28/2010 4:13:09 PM , Rating: 2
Let's just paint all cars fluorescent orange so people who are deaf can see them, put sirens on all cars so people who are blind can hear them, take off their emission controls so those who can't see or hear them can smell them, and make the surface of the cars rough so those who can't see, hear or smell them can feel them.

RE: Let's just....
By monkeyman1140 on 5/28/2010 4:15:04 PM , Rating: 2
Oh and let's make all car paint lemon flavor, so those who can't hear, see, or feel them can taste them.

If cars had never made sound
By piroroadkill on 5/25/2010 4:42:21 AM , Rating: 3
Would we have thought to fake engine sounds? God no

How loud?
By joedon3 on 5/24/2010 11:07:15 AM , Rating: 2
I know some really quiet internal combustion cars.

Hearing impairment?
By FoundationII on 5/24/2010 12:00:04 PM , Rating: 2
Expect to see this headline soon:
"Car manufacturer sued for causing hearing loss due to excess noise."

Prolonged exposure to urban traffic noise is a major factor in hearing impairment after all.

This is retarded
By piroroadkill on 5/24/2010 12:34:06 PM , Rating: 2
So, we could have been looking at a future of peace and quiet, and now we're not. Fantastic.

sound level
By Murloc on 5/24/2010 1:13:17 PM , Rating: 2
the max sound level should match the one of the most silent internal combustion engine car that can be legally driven in the US.
Otherwise it's totally unfair and doesn't promote EVs.

Anyway it's true that you hear tires, but if a car is slow and the road is very flat you don't.

They should let automakers choose any car to record and make the precampionated sounds from it.
It would be a nice optional to have a noise that doesn't disturb you.

What ever happened to...
By mevensen on 5/24/2010 1:19:35 PM , Rating: 2
...stop at the corner and look both ways?!?

Really, I know that the vison impaired still have an issue, but for everyone else, pedestrians need to get their heads out of their phones/PDAs/e-books/@sses and look where they are going.

While they're at it, get off the phone and take off those headphones for the media devices, too. That's probably what's drowning out much of the existing noises that would clue the pedestrian to danger in the first place.

Horse heads...
By HomerTNachoCheese on 5/24/2010 1:31:50 PM , Rating: 2
... should be added to the fronts of the cars, just like when the first cars were made. Then we could have sounds like running horses, or maybe Mr. Ed yelling in a frantic voice to get the hell out of the way.

I don't mind...
By CZroe on 5/24/2010 10:12:36 PM , Rating: 2
I don't mind... long as my future all electric Tesla-designed sportbike (In my dreams; I know) sounds like a ride from The Jetsons. :D

turn signal
By zodiacfml on 5/25/2010 2:10:05 AM , Rating: 2
what about making a sound during a slow turn or reverse?
this is one of the few advantages of an electric car and just makes me feel bad for it.

Bull$@*$ + Shenanogans
By icanhascpu on 5/25/2010 2:10:19 AM , Rating: 2
This IS BULLSHIT. If I ever got a electric car that did this the first thing Id do is find out how to make it not do it anymore.

What are they trying to do here? Is this some PR thing? How stupid do they thing people are? Isn't this insulting as hell to the blind that would know better than anyone this is not how it works?

Fuck this noise.

turn signal
By zodiacfml on 5/25/2010 2:16:24 AM , Rating: 2
what about making a sound during a slow turn or reverse?
this is one of the few advantages of an electric car and just makes me feel bad for it.

What the cars should say
By WinstonSmith on 5/25/2010 11:40:35 AM , Rating: 2
"Can ya' hear me now? Can ya' hear me now? Can ya'..."

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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