backtop


Print 104 comment(s) - last by TheSpaniard.. on Aug 16 at 2:02 PM


Lotus Sound Synthesis Technology  (Source: Paultan.org)
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.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

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:
quote:
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...


"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

Related Articles













botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki