How could we make electric cars noisier?

12 July 2009

Question

How annoying to make quiet cars louder! Couldn’t cars emit some kind of continuous signal that could be picked up by a device that could be held by a vision-impaired person and so, the proximity of the vehicle could then change the behaviour of that device?

Answer

Ben - That's a very nice idea and I can see how it would work but I can also see a couple of problems because if we start to rely on these, if you have the vision-impaired community relying on these, in order to avoid being hit by very quiet electric cars, then what happens when it goes wrong one day? And I really think that we need to find ways where we don't rely entirely on technology to get around this. I've wondered what they must do in Holland because I've been to Holland a few times and they have trams there that are virtually silent as well. With the amount of cyclists around, crossing the road in Amsterdam, really can be quite a hazard because there'll be cyclists coming from one way, a tram coming from the other and if you're not looking out carefully, they might well hit you. So, I think we'll probably find a way around it that doesn't involve this sort of technology but it's a really nice suggestion. Thanks very much.

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