Blind Advocates Upset About Nissan EV's Warning Noises
June 21, 2010 2:15 PM
comment(s) - last by
The 2011 Nissan Leaf EV
(Source: The New York Times)
Critics like the basic premise, but say it was poorly executed
After a couple of
years of debate
about how to best handle the risk that silent electric vehicles pose to blind pedestrians, the
2011 Nissan Leaf EV
offered up a creative solution --
artificial noises emitted while driving
. You might guess that blind rights advocates would be happy.
would be incorrect
, though. The National Federation of the Blind said that while including an alert was a step in the right direction, the system was full of flaws. Their biggest problem was with the fact that the driver could disable the alert. States the group, "[We are] disappointed that the driver is permitted to turn off the sound. [This] in effect, allows drivers to deactivate this important safety feature and thereby endanger pedestrians, especially those who are blind."
Chris Danielsen, a spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind complains, "The biggest thing with us is that we don’t think the driver should be able to switch the sound off."
When enabled, the group is okay with the standard driving warning sound, which they say is "sufficient to alert pedestrians". However, they are also displeased with the reverse warning sound, which unlike the forward noise is not continuous. They comment, "Intermittent sound is not as effective as a continuous sound."
Another complaint they have is that no warning sounds are emitted when the vehicle is idling.
The backup noises sounds somewhat like a ringing bell or submarine sonar, while the forward noise sounds somewhat like a jet tanking off (a whistle) -- or as Mark Perry, the director for product planning at Nissan Americas puts it, "You know that show with David Hasselhoff, Knight Rider? The forward sound reminds me of what KITT sounded like."
The sounds are generate by a synthesizer under the hood and should not disturb passengers within the cockpit, thanks to insulating layers. The sounds measure at 2.5 kHz at the high end of the spectrum to 600 Hz at the bottom.
Nissan recruited high profile help to develop the system, including, the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, acoustic psychology experts from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a Hollywood sound design studio that was not identified. Interestingly, The National Federation of the Blind -- the organization that is offering up the current criticism -- also helped provide design input for the system.
Perry defends the system against the recent criticism, stating, "They’re entitled to their opinions on the sounds turning off and what the sounds should be. The on-off switch by default is in the on position, and the driver has to make a decision each time to turn it off. The switch is there to balance the needs of drivers and pedestrians, though we think most owners will leave the system on because they can’t hear the sounds inside the car."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and legislators in Congress are currently
working on legislation
which would mandate noisemakers in electric vehicles. There are no such current regulations; the Nissan system was implemented merely in good faith.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
I'm all for it
6/21/2010 2:39:42 PM
I am all for it if I bought one of these cars I would like to have the right to turn the noise off. If it is a whistling noise that is even worse. I am all for having everyone being able to be safe but if it comes at the expense of my sanity because of a simulated whistle or buzzing noise while I am driving then yes for sure give me a off switch please.
There has to be a way to do this & make everyone happy.
That is all
RE: I'm all for it
6/21/2010 5:24:06 PM
but if it comes at the expense of my sanity
Did you read the part that says that people inside the vehicle won't hear the noise?
RE: I'm all for it
6/21/2010 5:39:20 PM
that well and good, but how about those days when you want the window down, and the guy next to you is buzzing and humming away.
then again, I suppose it's not much different than having to listen to his stereo.
I predict increased road rage anyway. : )
"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
All-electric Nissan Leaf to "Whistle" While it Works to Alert Pedestrians
June 14, 2010, 10:50 AM
Hybrids, Electric Cars to Get Noisy to Protect Blind Pedestrians Thanks to NHTSA
May 24, 2010, 10:54 AM
Nissan LEAF EV Priced from $32,780 Before $7,500 Federal Tax Credit
March 30, 2010, 1:01 PM
Blind Pedestrians Continue Their Fight Against "Silent" Hybrids
October 3, 2007, 2:31 PM
BMW Concept X5 eDrive Uses Plug-In Hybrid Tech
April 14, 2014, 9:03 AM
GM Invests $449 Million USD in Future Electric Vehicles, Batteries
April 9, 2014, 2:27 PM
Bentley Shows Off Plug-in Hybrid Concept Destined for '17 SUV Project
April 9, 2014, 8:53 AM
Microsoft Brings Live Tiles to Infotainment Systems with "Windows in the Car" Concept
April 7, 2014, 2:38 PM
Tesla Wants Its Raw Materials for Gigafactory to Come From North America
April 2, 2014, 9:19 AM
NHTSA Proposes Legislation Requiring Backup Cameras on All Light Vehicles
March 31, 2014, 5:00 PM
Most Popular Articles
Cities to Carpoolers: Sharing Your Car is Illegal, We Will Seize Your Cars
April 4, 2014, 9:17 PM
Taiwan's AOU Claims to Have World's Highest-Res. OLED Smartphone Display
April 11, 2014, 1:44 PM
iPad Exploiter is Freed by Federal Appeals Court
April 11, 2014, 7:40 PM
It's Very Likely Neanderthals and Humans Had Sex, Produced Offspring
April 10, 2014, 8:40 PM
Cops at Historically Troubled LAPD are Sabotaging Digital Recording Devices
April 9, 2014, 11:10 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information