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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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.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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