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Lotus Sound Synthesis Technology  (Source:
Device makes the Prius sound like a Lamborghini

Electric vehicles are hot right now and for the most part people see them as great for the environment and a welcome addition to the roads around the country. However, there is a down side to the electric vehicle -- other than a short range -- and that is that they make virtually no noise.

To many drivers, a silent car is a good thing and if electric cars take over the roads in the decades to come, the thought of traffic jam in near silence is much better than the loud idling and sound of combustion we get today. However, for those who are blind and for bicyclists, electric cars can be dangerous.

The Toyota Prius is a good example; when it travels at low speeds and runs on battery power without the combustion engine, it is virtually silent. Without being able to hear an electric car, the visually impaired could step out in front of the vehicle without knowing it was even there.

Congress thinks that the low noise levels of electric cars could be such of a hazard that a bill was introduced to require a minimum sound level on all cars produced for America.

If the bill is made into law, Lotus stands to make a bundle on new technology that it has been demonstrating to address the specific issue of noise -- or lack thereof -- on electric and hybrid vehicles. The technology is called Lotus Sound Synthesis and in essence it is nothing more than a sound system to make sounds pedestrians can hear. Lotus connected the system to a stock Toyota Prius to demonstrate the technology.

The system consists of a 300-watt speaker, a throttle position sensor, amplifier, and synthesis controller. The system would produce engine sounds that would rise and fall -- just like the sounds of a combustion engine -- during acceleration. Lotus says that when the combustion engine kicks in, the speaker system automatically turns off. The speaker itself is a waterproof unit mounted near the cars radiator and according to Lotus the driver hears virtually no sound. The sound could reportedly be made to mimic various engines.

Wired quotes Mike Kimberly, CEO of Group Lotus saying, "We hope that legislators introduce minimum noise requirements for vehicles to encourage the adoption of technologies, such as ours, which will ultimately increase pedestrian safety."

The Toyota Prius isn’t the only car that could benefit from Lotus' system. Honda is bringing the Insight back in 2010 and Tesla has its Roadster on the streets now as well.

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By ChronoReverse on 8/7/2008 2:18:04 PM , Rating: 3
I live in Vancouver and there are tons of Priuses here from the taxis to random people driving them.

I can hear them just fine. They're quiet but not silent in any sense of the word.

How people who are blind and presumably have better hearing than sighted people like me "can't hear" the Prius is beyond me.

By Brandon Hill on 8/7/2008 2:20:32 PM , Rating: 2
I most definitely can hear Priuses. I was in downtown Raleigh last weekend and a Prius crawled up to a stop sign. I could hear the whine of the electric motor, and as it took off, I could hear tire noise.

Someone who is blind typically has more acute hearing than the rest of us, so I'm sure they must be able to pickup on even more stuff emanating from the Prius.

By FITCamaro on 8/7/2008 2:53:01 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah that's what I'm saying. Even a car without any engine noise is still going to make noise as the tires roll over the ground and the suspension adjusts. There's plenty of cars on the road that are nearly silent even without an electric engine.

By FITCamaro on 8/7/2008 2:54:07 PM , Rating: 3
And perhaps the blind can be used to detect smug levels since their other 4 senses are enhanced from loosing their sight.

By gmyx on 8/7/2008 2:56:21 PM , Rating: 4
Someone who is blind typically has more acute hearing than the rest of us, so I'm sure they must be able to pickup on even more stuff emanating from the Prius.

That is a common misconception, believe me. I work with many blind individuals. The average visually impaired has average hearing. Add to that the sounds of other vehicles and people and you could easily miss a Prius or even think it's an electric wheelchair (just as dangerous at the speeds they go!)

By masher2 on 8/7/2008 3:03:26 PM , Rating: 5
If a blind person is roaming aimlessly about streets, depending on nothing but their sense of hearing to keep them safe, they're eventually going to get hit anyway.

Adding more noise pollution isn't the answer. How about a handheld technology that allows the blind to sense oncoming cars whether or not they're making noise?

By gmyx on 8/7/2008 3:22:33 PM , Rating: 2
Don't get me wrong, I agree that we don't need extra noise out there. A big part of navigating for a visually impaired individual is 'seeing' the environment with their cane and / or dog (If they choose that have one) and listening to you environment.

There are devices that help navigate but are based off of GPS. The cars would be better suited to have small transmitters that these devices can detect and tell them to stop.

By FITCamaro on 8/7/2008 3:30:28 PM , Rating: 4
People hardly stop for ambulances anymore. What makes you think they'll stop to some alert in their car saying a blind person is nearby?

By elpresidente2075 on 8/7/2008 3:47:53 PM , Rating: 4
I believe it is the blind person who would be told to stop in that example. Personally I find that to be a great solution ideally, but infeasible for many reasons, cost first and foremost.

By gmyx on 8/7/2008 7:31:53 PM , Rating: 2
I believe it is the blind person who would be told to stop in that example.

That is exactly what I meant. Really, the technology already exists, all that would be needed is a boosted RFID and the GPS guiders ( to work together. Granted the trekker and other similar products are quite expensive (2500$C if memory server me right), they do work fairly well. You still need to be aware of your environment, but it would help to have a more interactive environment, not just cars.

By SilthDraeth on 8/8/2008 2:52:35 PM , Rating: 2
by FITCamaro on August 7, 2008 at 3:30 PM People hardly stop for ambulances anymore. What makes you think they'll stop to some alert in their car saying a blind person is nearby?

I saw this a ton in Georgia. Once I saw several vehicles pull out in front of an Ambulance that was waiting to turn at an intersection, the people where military or contractors trying to get onto the Air Force base before the signal changed.

It sickened me.

By Motamid on 8/8/2008 11:23:53 PM , Rating: 3
Because they want to use their regenerative breaking of course :)

By NullSubroutine on 8/8/2008 1:28:14 AM , Rating: 3
Simple, add a devise to all cars or only 'silent ones' that emit a radio frequency that is picked up by a device that blind people can purchase for a very low cost. All it does is make a noise that gets louder as a vehicle gets closer and quieter it gets further away. Simple, cheap, and not creating any noise pollution.

By GaryJohnson on 8/10/2008 12:07:33 AM , Rating: 2
Imagine if we could get everyone to add a position transmitter to their car. It could revolutionize traffic monitoring, let alone help the visually impaired.

By Murloc on 8/10/2008 5:54:51 AM , Rating: 2
but how can you hear where the car is if you have a radio transmitter?
If it's a crossing the blind will hear all the time beep beep but he won't know where the car is.

By NullSubroutine on 8/10/2008 10:29:19 AM , Rating: 2
I think there are receivers that are sophisticated enough to detect what direction a signal is coming from. Hell, the transmitter could do that for it.

By blaster5k on 8/7/2008 3:33:06 PM , Rating: 5
Agreed. I've been looking forward to the day when traffic noise outside can barely be heard. That's the way it should be.

The sound levels around highways and major roads are usually loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage as is. I don't see why we wouldn't want to reduce them. The needs of those with disabilities can be met in other ways.

By lightfoot on 8/7/2008 6:23:43 PM , Rating: 2
Most highway noise is caused by the tires of cars against the asphalt, not the engines of the cars. There are a few exceptions but they are rare.

I believe the danger is at low speeds in pedestrian heavy areas. A speaker can't compete with the sound of rubber slapping pavement at 60+ MPH.

By ChronoReverse on 8/7/2008 6:24:53 PM , Rating: 2
At 60MPH, you shouldn't be crossing the motorway haphazardly even with eyes that work

By lightfoot on 8/7/2008 6:32:43 PM , Rating: 2
No doubt, I was just replying to the previous comment that stated:
The sound levels around highways and major roads are usually loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage as is. I don't see why we wouldn't want to reduce them. The needs of those with disabilities can be met in other ways.

By SergeantGardner on 8/11/2008 1:31:03 AM , Rating: 2
This is meant for speeds at which the engine is not running, meaning electric only. I doubt that includes 60+. I fully agree that this is a rather useless technology that would not be worth cost/annoyance, but I would like to see a Prius driving down the road with a ferrari engine sound blasting out of a 300W speaker. Would make me want one...

By TheDoc9 on 8/7/2008 4:12:22 PM , Rating: 5
We cant use a smart idea like that Masher, think of how much money Lotus wouldn't make.

By TSS on 8/7/2008 6:26:03 PM , Rating: 5
aside from the projects already underway for the blind to see again, why do anything at all?

ask yourself this: how many blind people get hit by a prius every year, and how many people who can see/hear/feel/smell/taste + optional 6th sense get hit by a prius every year?

but this whole situation boils down to just 1 thing: very, very bored lawmakers.

By William Gaatjes on 8/8/2008 8:11:15 AM , Rating: 2
If an electric car makes half the noise of a modern car it is silent for us and stil very noticable for blind people. Most blind people i know of beat any visual ok person when it comes to locating the origin of a sound.

How much sound does a normal good condition car make and what is the minumum sound level an electric car should make according to the bill ? I am interested.

I once read about a project of making a sonar system for blind people. In time this sonar for blind people will be technologically evolved enough to notice cars or any moving object and inform the person using it. I think that is a better solution then a car tracker. Because you also need a bike tracker. An electric wheelchair tracker. A jogging person tracker. Etcetera...

By PrinceGaz on 8/7/2008 5:24:45 PM , Rating: 5
On the contrary, blind people do have better hearing. To quote from a reliable source:

Being blind, you have developed other senses to compensate.

Prerequisite: Permanently blind for at least three months

Benefit: You gain +4 to all Listen checks, and the ability to take 10 on any Listen check, regardless of condition. Listen is considered a class skill for you. You also gain the feat Blind-Fight.

The +4 to Listen checks combined with the option to "take a 10" on the check pretty much assures a blind person will be able to hear an electric car fine. A non-blind person crossing a road who didn't see a car approaching could easily fail to hear it if they made a bad roll (they cannot "take a 10").

Whilst I'm glad I am sighted, the advantage blind people gain to their hearing is significant.

By LordanSS on 8/7/2008 6:56:04 PM , Rating: 2
Blind people have improved tactile senses, and usually a better spatial memory regarding known environs.

Studies have demonstrated how the brain adapts when a person becomes sight-impaired. Brain regions that usually process "sight" information are converted, and end up processing tactile information instead. In a sense, said person can "see" with their hands.

As for hearing, sight-impaired people are prone to the same problems an average person is: time. As time passes, and people age, gradual hearing loss is not uncommon.

Still... this doesn't mean electric cars need to have a boombox tucked in it just to make noises for people walking around. Sight-impaired people that also suffer from other handicaps should not roam about unsupervised, as they are a danger not only to themselves, but also other people around them. From a human escort, to a guide-dog, they need the assistance.

By Hiawa23 on 8/8/2008 10:38:57 AM , Rating: 2
I understand what the article is saying but why would any owner want the Prius to sound like anything else. I drive an 06 Mitsu Lancer Ralliart 2.4l & you want to talk about the engine being loud, it's loud, even with the amp & subs going, & I would love for it to be quiet like the electric cars. I think people just need to look befor they step. That's one of the benefits of the vehicles, why remove that?

By Moohbear on 8/7/2008 2:25:11 PM , Rating: 3
I think they're targeting the morons walking around with headphones blasting as loud as they can, dumbasses crossing without looking both sides of the street and the sort.
Not sure society should take any step to actively shield them from harm they bring to themselves.
Stupidity should never be an acceptable excuse.

By Polynikes on 8/7/2008 2:29:48 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately it often is.

By mmntech on 8/7/2008 2:37:56 PM , Rating: 2
Turning it up to 11. lol If they just bought some decent headphones instead of those crappy iPod earbuds.

I thought this was funny. They've had these devices out for a while for RC cars and planes so they'd sound like they had a gas engine. I guess the Prius really is like a toy now.

By Flunk on 8/7/2008 2:36:01 PM , Rating: 2
Quieter is a feature, not a problem. And it's not as if they are silent, even if the motor didn't make any noise at all.

It's impossible to have a car that is silent because of wind resistance and the contact of rubber against asphalt. All of that should be perfectly audible even if the engine is silent.

This is just another case of ultra-pc stupidity, the answer to a problem that never existed.

By Some1ne on 8/7/2008 3:35:13 PM , Rating: 3
They're definitely not silent, but they are much quieter than most other vehicles. Hearing one under ideal conditions is not a problem, but it's much easier for the sound of a Prius to be drowned out by background noise than it is for most other vehicles. For example, if you go and stand by a quiet intersection that is lightly trafficked, of course you'll have no problem hearing the Pruis come and go. However, if you go and try the same thing at a busy intersection inside of a large city, where there is background noise from all the non-hybrid vehicles, and other pedestrians talking to each other, and so on, it can be virtually impossible to audibly detect a Prius. I walk to/from work every day, and there have been several occasions where I wasn't able to hear a Prius approaching (a couple times at intersections, and once when one was backing out of a parking space), and only noticed it once I saw that it was moving. And I wasn't listening to headphones or anything else, the small amount of noise that the Prius does make was just drowned out by the ambient background sounds.

So the issue isn't that these cars are "silent", it's that they are so quiet that they are very easily drowned out by background noise. It's not that you'll never hear one, but there are definitely times when you won't, especially in areas with lots of background noise. I think it's a legitimate concern, as even if 9 times out of 10 the blind person hears the Prius, what about the other 1?

By ChronoReverse on 8/7/2008 3:44:20 PM , Rating: 4
Why on earth would you step blind onto a busy intersection without more confirmation than simply hearing?

When I'm at city cruising in my Matrix, the engine is very quiet as well. Someone who's listening for it in traffic wouldn't be able to discern it either.

By Some1ne on 8/7/2008 5:09:25 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't, because I'm not blind. But a blind person might. Have you never seen one walking around? They value their independence, and can actually be quite effective at getting themselves around, even in busy/heavily trafficked areas. And they pretty much have to step blind into the intersection, relying on auditory cues to know when it's safe.

By ChronoReverse on 8/7/2008 5:42:41 PM , Rating: 2
Auditory cues that aren't reliable even with non-(hybrid/electric) cars. And that's being generous.

That is to say, if a normal small car can't really be heard over the din of busy traffic, what difference would it make that an electric/hybrid car is quieter?

By lightfoot on 8/7/2008 6:28:34 PM , Rating: 4
Clearly every car must be louder than every other car, that way none of them get drowned out.

"Everything louder than everything else." - Meat Loaf

By Tamale on 8/7/2008 6:14:29 PM , Rating: 3
actually, most of these people you're calling uncaring are coming up with solutions which would allow for a much higher level of safety for children and blind people alike. cars being too quiet is not a 'problem', it's a good thing. as someone else already pointed out, traffic noise pollution is a damaging thing.. have you no compassion for the quality of life?

By lightfoot on 8/7/2008 6:38:20 PM , Rating: 2
Have you no compassion for people hit by "loud" cars?

The real problem that people are being hit by cars, and usually it has little to do with how loud the car is.

By jRaskell on 8/8/2008 1:04:36 PM , Rating: 3
Children are the responsibility of their parents or guardians. Any parent or guardian who leaves said children unattended around roads shouldn't be allowed to take care of them, plain and simple.

Whether the car is quiet or loud, children are at tremendous risks around roads. I regularly drive a VERY loud muscle car, and I assure you it has little affect on the oblivious nature of all youngsters. Hell, I've seen children remain oblivious even after honking the horn.

I seriously wonder if you have any actual experience with children to begin with.

By Hiawa23 on 8/8/2008 11:18:22 AM , Rating: 2
If you are blind, perhaps you shouldn't be wondering around town by yourself. Very dangerous, especially given all the wackos we have in society looking to take advantage of anyone.

Bubble wrap!
By chmilz on 8/7/2008 2:30:06 PM , Rating: 5
Maybe we should pass laws to force all pedestrians to wear helmets and bubble-wrap, and make shoes so large people can't trip or fall, and coat every conceivable surface with NERF.

Or maybe people should be accountable for their actions and pay attention to what's going on around them.


RE: Bubble wrap!
By teldar on 8/7/2008 2:46:23 PM , Rating: 2
Now that's just being crazy. You know the american way is to not hold people responsible for their own actions. Where do you get off thinking people should face consequences of being stupid?


On another note....
Here manufacturers are trying to improve mileage and now they're going to be told they have to add 100 lbs OF JUNK! to the weight of the vehicle sapping efficiency even further! I hope like hell this doesn't pass as it's the stupidest thing I have heard of in relation to vehicle safety. basturds

RE: Bubble wrap!
By TheDoc9 on 8/7/2008 4:17:48 PM , Rating: 3
Plus it's 300 watts which is much more powerful than most car audio systems. The energy sapped will undoubtedly require bigger batteries and electric engines.

RE: Bubble wrap!
By Adonlude on 8/7/2008 7:39:45 PM , Rating: 3
I'ts unfortunate that blind people are blind, it really is, but I don't see how thats MY problem. I am not going to pay for my car to have a freaken 300W sound system for the blind. If I decide to buy a 300W sound system for my car it is going to be inside and it is going to be for me.

Whats next, am I going to be forced to pay more money to live in this country becuase I am smarter than stupid people? OH wait, I already pay a higher percentage of a higer salary for being smart and hard working enough to have a good job.

Society loves to gang up on the fit/strong to suport the unfit/weak.

RE: Bubble wrap!
By ultimaone on 8/7/2008 2:47:51 PM , Rating: 2
so long as the law states that the pedestrian always has the right of way, then ppl will just continue to step out without looking, cause the 2000 lb car is supposed to stop on a dime.....

RE: Bubble wrap!
By FITCamaro on 8/7/2008 2:56:34 PM , Rating: 2
Pedestrians only have right of way all the time in some states. In Florida if you walk out into the middle of the street, you don't have the right of way. I know in Taxachussetts you do.

RE: Bubble wrap!
By isorfir on 8/7/2008 3:26:54 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure in Michigan they do not have the right of way if it's not a crosswalk. A few years back in my town a blind man was struck and killed by a car, but the driver was not found to be liable since the gentleman was trying to cross a 5 lane highway sans crosswalk.

RE: Bubble wrap!
By foxtrot9 on 8/7/2008 3:56:05 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I would love to see someone in NY try that one out and see what happens

RE: Bubble wrap!
By chiadog on 8/7/2008 3:20:45 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately that there are tons (;)) more cars/trucks double that weight roaming around the street than 2000 pounders.

RE: Bubble wrap!
By Smartless on 8/7/2008 2:50:50 PM , Rating: 2
Listen.. here that?... It's the sound of lawyers crying. YES! haha.

What's also ironic is how noise pollution and sound deafening was a large issue for awhile. Well mostly on freeways but here we are again over-designing to fit the needs of the few.

RE: Bubble wrap!
By marsbound2024 on 8/7/2008 3:06:55 PM , Rating: 2
There's a Snapple Antioxidant Water commercial that shows a world like that. Everything is bubblewrapped.

There's an older technology...
By Frazzle on 8/7/2008 2:27:23 PM , Rating: 4
They could just use a clothespin holding a playing card slapping against the spokes. No doubt it's much cheaper too.

RE: There's an older technology...
By lebe0024 on 8/7/2008 2:35:22 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, a passive noise system seems like a much better idea.

In the twin cities, people were getting hit by our light rail train because they weren't looking before crossing the tracks and the train is very quiet. Someone humorously suggested we blare jaws music off the front of the train!

bum bum... bum bum.... bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum

RE: There's an older technology...
By Flunk on 8/7/2008 2:37:46 PM , Rating: 4
I suggest that we adopt more darwinist policies. If you can't remember to look before crossing train tracks you deserve what you get.

RE: There's an older technology...
By Screwballl on 8/7/2008 2:46:41 PM , Rating: 2
agreed.... the blind can hear the tire noise... the bicyclists need to look over their shoulder by law... so I see no use for this... and if/when I ever get once of these silent vehicles, I am disabling the noise maker first thing... thats what I use my horn for if I need to get noticed.

RE: There's an older technology...
By Spuke on 8/7/2008 7:11:01 PM , Rating: 2
Mine will modified to sound like hollowed out coconuts. Or maybe an ice cream truck.

RE: There's an older technology...
By hashish2020 on 8/7/2008 8:06:02 PM , Rating: 2
Look over their shoulder?

Have you biked in a city, you do realize when you are tracking on the side of traffic, the inch or two you slide from turning means you get clipped

By Alexstarfire on 8/8/2008 4:08:42 AM , Rating: 3
And do you know that bicyclists are supposed to follow the rules of the road like everyone in a car does?

Guess not.

RE: There's an older technology...
By bodar on 8/8/2008 11:11:46 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't someone ALREADY come up with a passive noise system for cars and it was banned? It was also much cheaper than this tech and consumed no power.
Woo-WOO! ;)

By marvdmartian on 8/7/2008 2:39:53 PM , Rating: 2
Good thinking! I was thinking the same thing, though we might want to put a card on both sides of the car, for extra safety! ;)

I will...
By Souka on 8/7/2008 4:00:19 PM , Rating: 5
look forward to this tech...

I'll input a Jenna Jameson audio clip for the accelerator sound....

"oh yeah! oh yeah!"

RE: I will...
By greylica on 8/7/2008 4:13:44 PM , Rating: 2
Deserves a 6 man !

RE: I will...
By Fnoob on 8/9/2008 5:13:30 PM , Rating: 2
They would certainly know someone was coming ;)

I knew it!
By TheSpaniard on 8/7/2008 2:57:07 PM , Rating: 3
I was telling FITcamaro the other day that Miami had to do this to their buses b/c people would get hit!

I WILL remove this from my vehicle if it is installed on my next purchase. What are they going to give me a noise violation? for too little noise?

RE: I knew it!
By Alexstarfire on 8/8/2008 4:10:22 AM , Rating: 2
Well, you can get a ticket for driving too slow... so I wouldn't be too surprised. They'll probably have to pass another law just to give you the ticket.

RE: I knew it!
By TheSpaniard on 8/16/2008 2:02:07 PM , Rating: 2
fine but my car will NOT make an engine sound. I want it to sound like a TIE fighter from star wars!

300W? Really?
By SilentSin on 8/7/2008 2:42:04 PM , Rating: 2
Is 300 Watts really necessary here? All of my speakers in my car combined don't have that kind of power draw and those can get damn loud. Wouldn't this thing drain the battery of the hybrid or at least steal a good chunk of power from the alternator that would be used for recharging too?

How long before someone routes their car stereo through this and turns it into a gigantic external loudspeaker? Or better yet- a megaphone. Screw the horn or some sort of artificial engine noises, just yell at people on the street to get the f*#k out of the way, the smugmobile is coming through.

RE: 300W? Really?
By boogle on 8/7/2008 2:56:29 PM , Rating: 2
Screw the horn or some sort of artificial engine noises, just yell at people on the street to get the f*#k out of the way, the smugmobile is coming through.

That would be pretty awesome. I live in the country near tourist attractions and come across people walking in the middle of a main road on blind corners every so often. Then when you slam on the brakes and go past they look at you like you've just tried to run them down. I once had a car come in the opposite direction so I had to move over to the left and the group of people started shouting! Never mind there's a grass verge and this is a main road with cars going 60mph...

But I digress. A boy racer will probably provide them with a darwin award in time.

RE: 300W? Really?
By FITCamaro on 8/7/2008 2:58:59 PM , Rating: 2
The power draw of something like this would be even more problematic on an ELECTRIC car.

engine sounds
By mattclary on 8/7/2008 3:34:08 PM , Rating: 3
I want mine to sound like a TIE Fighter.

RE: engine sounds
By greylica on 8/7/2008 4:11:41 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I will install a blaupunkt with porche sounds and get to the streets.


Girls, look at me ! Now I have a porsche !
And then, the gas attendant opens the front capot, 30 speakers and a TT125 Motor.

Yiiiaiiii !!!

Advanced Hearing Aids
By Kalte on 8/7/2008 2:24:59 PM , Rating: 2
Why not simply create more advanced hearing aids that would emulate engine noises for blind people? Every car could have an inaudible noise that hearing aids could pick up on and amplify for the blind. I just think it's odd to accommodate a minority by inconveniencing the majority.

As for cyclists.. open your eyes and look before turning :P

RE: Advanced Hearing Aids
By Polynikes on 8/7/2008 2:32:57 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, cyclists should have no reason to support this. You should always look in the direction you want to go before you actually go that way.

Sure am Glad
By UppityMatt on 8/7/2008 3:01:56 PM , Rating: 2
That our politicians have nothing better to do than worry about car noise...with such other big events in the current world like Iraq, the Economy, and pretty much any other topic of concern. Make sure you vote!

RE: Sure am Glad
By bodar on 8/8/2008 11:18:18 PM , Rating: 2
Well, they gotta look like they're getting something done. Smoke and mirrors...

Most idiotic idea around
By tomoyo on 8/7/2008 3:13:56 PM , Rating: 2
I love how they've forgotten that noise pollution hurts way more than adding noise. Noise hurts many animals, it hurts our ears, it causes stress. People who don't pay attention in the middle of a dangerous street don't deserve to live. I hate noise myself. The quieter anything is, the better. That should be the goal of the world!

RE: Most idiotic idea around
By Davelo on 8/9/2008 9:57:24 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. Also, anybody driving a car with one of these will be laughed off the road.

By PAPutzback on 8/7/2008 3:24:00 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps the sounds can be changed on the fly.

Here are a few sounds I'd like installed.

A herd of charging bulls, Bubble wrap, machine guns (think drive by), racing horses, swarm of bees.

Nothing says move the hell out of the way like a herd of charging animals.

By 67STANG on 8/7/2008 3:41:17 PM , Rating: 2
I'd like to have mine playing scenes from Jenna Jameson movies. That would be great driving by schools, churches, weddings, funerals, etc.

By Choppedliver on 8/7/2008 3:24:25 PM , Rating: 2
We have enough laws already. We dont need the government telling us how quiet our cars can be. If you are not aware that some cars are quieter than others and you should take due diligence to make sure you do not get hit, then you deserve to get hit.

By Choppedliver on 8/7/2008 3:35:37 PM , Rating: 2
Let me rephrase that ...

If you ARE aware that some cars are quieter than others and you DON'T take due diligence to make sure you do not get hit, then you deserve to get hit.

By shabby on 8/7/2008 4:11:58 PM , Rating: 2
Does it go woo-woo!

RE: ...
By cokbun on 8/8/2008 12:26:18 AM , Rating: 2
and dont forget the red LED that goes back and forth :P

anyway,i want to hook mine up to a mp3 player so i can play rap music really loud..

This is a stupid idea
By Davelo on 8/7/2008 9:46:24 PM , Rating: 2
So we reduce air pollution but increase noise pollution?

RE: This is a stupid idea
By bubba551 on 8/8/2008 10:01:21 AM , Rating: 2
On the contrary, this is a great idea.

Where can I get one fitted to my elderly mother-in-law. She's always sneaking up on me and it creeps me out.

What about auditory cues at intersections?
By Chaotic42 on 8/9/2008 7:51:04 PM , Rating: 2
For people in decent sized cities, what if they installed a decently loud chime that went off when there was a "WALK" signal and a different chime when it switches to "DON'T WALK"? I don't know, it seems more reasonable to me than putting speakers on cars to make them all louder.

By b534202 on 8/10/2008 9:38:13 PM , Rating: 2
Blind people want to jaywalk too!

By Suntan on 8/7/2008 3:05:52 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't it just be cheaper to offer free metal detectors to any pedestrian that wanted one?


Stupid Ideas by Stupid People
By Machinegear on 8/7/2008 3:16:53 PM , Rating: 2
When society moved from horse drawn carriages to cars, did we give cars horse sounds? REEEEE-neeee-HEHEHEHE!!!!

No. We did not.

I guess we did give a few cars horse names... BUT! that is another issue. BTW, I want an electric car that sounds like a palomino and can do wheelies. Later.

By kevinkreiser on 8/7/2008 3:19:16 PM , Rating: 2
Last time I checked bicycles are pretty quiet and move a pretty high speeds. Maybe we need to force bike riders to strap noise makers to their bikes too.

By vapore0n on 8/7/2008 3:19:21 PM , Rating: 2
Now picture this.

Punching the gas on a really slow hybrid, but sounding like a bat out of hell super sports car reaching 10k rpms with that sound system.

that will surely get the attention of pedestrians lol

Reminds me of driving my car in low gears. People think im flying through

By greylica on 8/7/2008 3:45:26 PM , Rating: 2
Imagine this situation:
Someone selling this car announcing a more powerfull motor and, in order to prove it, he install a 5000W Power Amplifier with a mp3 Ferrari sound.
Someone bought this car, and accelerates fast, 2 miles ahead, the car stops, accusing no more battery to sustain the noise of the car or the car itself.

Hilarious. :)

Ha Ha ha
By foxtrot9 on 8/7/2008 3:52:38 PM , Rating: 2
This is a joke right??? No seriously please tell me you made this article up....and people say we aren't becoming a nanny state!

I also thought that these cars were supposed to be about efficiency - seems like an awful waste to me to have a pointless amplifier running all the time to make noise.

Maybe blind people shouldn't wander into the street without someone accompanying them. I mean seriously we need to make millions of cars with this stupid feature because the few def people can't just have someone go around with them? That makes absolutely no sense.

Fresh new idea...
By jtemplin on 8/7/2008 6:50:44 PM , Rating: 2
Instead of putting this burden on the majority. The burden being decresed efficiency, higher cost, useless noise (pollution). I would imagine increased road noise near residential areas won't be beneficial to those who CAN hear. So why not put the burden of expensive technological outfitting on the minority. With government subsidization so its all nice and PC.

So here is my proposal: Give the blind some sort of hybrid-car Geiger counter, or a caged canary if you will.

My grandfather recently purchased a hybrid and was notified of the potential for EM interference with his pacemaker. From this anecdote I would imagine the powerful batteries and electric motor should have an EM signature that could be read at a distance.

Range uselessly short you say? so how about a relatively low power/range RF signal identifying the hybrid to a some sort of communicator the blind person has on their person which informs them of their impending and certain death. It won't be too long before ever moving object on the road intercommunicates anyway, heres an excuse to start that can be thrown in under the ADA.

Now don't get me wrong. I don't want to see any blind people getting run down in the street, nor any hearing people for that matter, but there is a poor business case for placing the burden on the drivers.

If you can spend far less to solve the same problem with an equivalent outcome, then why not?

By hashish2020 on 8/7/2008 8:03:04 PM , Rating: 2
You require the noise of a car to bike properly without a bike path

Sure you check your six regularly, but the sound of SOMETHING is a great addition to IDing where cars are...especially in an already loud city

oh yeah
By Shadow Conception on 8/7/2008 11:16:43 PM , Rating: 2
Can't wait 'til I take my Prius out to the local drag races with this baby. I will get owned, but at least I will get owned while producing the sound of a Lamborghini!

Finally a reason to buy one.
By kyleb2112 on 8/8/2008 4:47:00 AM , Rating: 2
How about, "HERE I AM, HERE I AM, HERE I AM" with a cool doppler effect and a Flanger filter. I'd at least want to mod it that way for April 1st.

Screw this idiocy
By Cullinaire on 8/8/2008 4:48:40 AM , Rating: 2
Make radars mandatory for all users of the road.

Totally stupid measure
By DeepBlue1975 on 8/8/2008 11:48:12 AM , Rating: 2
As some said, a car with a silent engine can be heard because it has tires that roll...

As for cyclists, they'd better start using rearview mirrors. It's totally idiotic to go on a bike and rely on a ball of sound that comes from behind.

Relying on the sound alone means the following:

"One or more vehicles of unknown type are approaching to me, but I don't know their speed, their direction, and I can't be sure that if I turn my bike I won't be hitting them because they are already turning the same way I'm thinking".

As for the blind, make some damn devices that can sense mid range obstacles and trigger a sound alarm with increasing volume as the obstacle gets nearer.

I'd love perfectly silent engines. As another bonus you could start learning how each car's tire rolling sound is, and even maybe distinguish different brands / types of tires just by what you hear :D

woo woo
By b534202 on 8/8/2008 3:44:33 PM , Rating: 2
How about they just mount a giant whistle on the roof?

By Kenenniah on 8/8/2008 5:12:32 PM , Rating: 2
Instead of the speaker system, can we just strap the members of congress responsible for the bill to the hoods of our cars and make them yell, "Vrooooommmmmmm!!!"

By sleepeeg3 on 8/11/2008 11:52:52 AM , Rating: 2
Nice. Make them hybrids to reduce gasoline consumption. Add a 300w speaker so they are just as noisy and it increases gasoline consumption!

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