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 ShaolinSoccer on 8/7/2008 6:05:35 PM , Rating: 0
I've read all the comments and not a single one of you seem to be concerned about children (or any human being for that matter) getting hit by a "quiet car". I find it deeply disturbing that so many people are so uncaring. You guys have lost your sense of compassion for human life. What is wrong with you people?


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.


"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

Related Articles













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