Dangers of silent engines

The sound of an approaching car is one of the most recognisable sounds on the streets. However, with the growth of electric and hybrid vehicles this familiar sound may be changing.

Whilst the elimination of noise pollution may be welcomed by some, many people, especially the visually impaired, use the sound of car engines to keep them safe.

According to the RNIB, pedestrians are 40 per cent more likely to be hit by a hybrid or electric car than by one with a petrol or diesel engine in the UK.

Jaguar I-PACE designs Audible Vehicle Alert System

Jaguar develops an Audible Vehicle Alert System
Jaguar has developed an Audible Vehicle Alert System (AVAS) for I-PACE, to warn vulnerable road users as the electric vehicle approaches

With no engine sound, the electric Jaguar I-PACE required a new way to warn blind, visually impaired and other vulnerable road users it is approaching at low speed.

The electric Jaguar I-PACE has designed a unique Audible Vehicle Alert System (AVAS) to warn vulnerable road users as the electric vehicle (EV) approaches.

Jaguar’s engineers have developed a sound that can be heard at speeds up to 20km/h and exceeds the 56dB(A) minimum required by forthcoming European legislation – the strictest in the world – for all new EVs from July 2019.

The I-PACE’s sound was tested by members of Guide Dogs for the Blind, marking the start of an on-going relationship between the two organisations.

Iain Suffield, Jaguar noise, vibration & harshness technical specialist said: “The absence of traditional engine noise from electric vehicles creates a problem for vulnerable pedestrians, such as the blind or visually impaired. This is especially true at low speeds in town centres and car parks.

“We developed the Audible Vehicle Alert System for the I-PACE to ensure the safety of all road users. Our potentially life-saving technology cannot be switched off and as the leading charity for people with sight loss, we are pleased to have the support of Guide Dogs to ensure real people are at the heart of our product testing.”