[Nfbmo] Fw: Quiet Car Information

Gary Wunder gwunder at earthlink.net
Thu Oct 15 14:21:31 UTC 2009

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Ruby Polk 
To: Gary Wunder 
Sent: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 7:53 PM
Subject: Quiet Car Information

Hi Gary,

Will you please Post this Quiet Car Information.

Thanks, Ruby

Hybrid Cars May Include Fake Vroom for Safety
 October 14, 2009
 New York Times
 For decades, automakers have been on a quest to make cars quieter: an
 auto that purrs,
 and glides almost silently in traffic.
 They have finally succeeded. Plug-in hybrid and electric cars, it turns
 out, not
 only reduce air pollution, they cut noise pollution as well with their
 motors. But that has created a different problem. They aren't noisy
 So safety experts, worried that hybrids pose a threat if pedestrians,
 children and
 others can't hear them approaching, want automakers to supply some
 digitally enhanced
 vroom. Indeed, just as cellphones have ring tones, "car tones" may not
 be far behind
 - an option for owners of electric vehicles to choose the sound their
 cars emit.
 Working with Hollywood special-effects wizards, some hybrid auto
 companies have started
 tinkering in sound studios, rather than machine shops, to customize
 engine noises.
 The Fisker Karma, an $87,900 plug-in hybrid expected to go on sale next
 year, will
 emit a sound - pumped out of speakers in the bumpers - that the company
 Henrik Fisker, describes as "a cross between a starship and a Formula
 One car."
 Nissan is also consulting with the film industry on sounds that could be
 by its forthcoming Leaf battery-electric vehicle, while Toyota has been
 working with
 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National
 Federation of the
 Blind and the Society of Automotive Engineers on sounds for electric
 "One possibility is choosing your own noise," said Nathalie Bauters, a
 for BMW's Mini division, who added that such technology could be added
 to one of
 BMW's electric vehicles in the future.
 The notion that battery E.V.'s and plug-in hybrids might be too quiet
 has gained
 backing in Congress, among federal regulators and on the Internet. The
 Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, introduced early this year, would
 require a federal
 safety standard to protect pedestrians from ultra-quiet cars.
 Karen Aldana, a spokeswoman for traffic safety agency, which is also
 working on the
 issue, said, "We're looking at data on noise and E.V. safety, but
 manufacturers are
 starting to address it voluntarily."
 A Toyota spokesman, John Hanson, said: "I don't know of any injuries
 related to this,
 but it is a concern. We are moving rapidly toward broader use of
 in vehicles, and it's a fact that these cars are very quiet and could
 pose a risk
 to unsighted people."
 A study published last year by the University of California, Riverside
 and financed
 by the National Federation of the Blind evaluated the effect of sounds
 emitted by
 hybrid and internal-combustion cars traveling at 5 miles per hour.
 People listening in a lab could correctly detect a gas-powered car's
 approach when
 it was 28 feet away, but could not hear the arrival of a hybrid
 operating in silent
 battery mode until it was only seven feet away.
 Some electric-vehicle drivers have taken a low-tech approach to alerting
 When Paul Scott of Santa Monica, Calif., drives his 2002 Toyota RAV4
 electric car,
 he often rolls down the windows along busy streets and turns up his
 radio so people
 know his virtually silent vehicle is there.
 Mr. Scott, vice president of the advocacy group Plug In America, said he
 would prefer
 giving drivers control over whether the motor makes noise, unlike, say,
 the Fisker
 Karma, which will make its warning noise automatically.
 "Quiet cars need to stay quiet - we worked so hard to make them that
 way," he said.
 "It's the driver's responsibility not to hit somebody."
 Mr. Scott has already warmed up to the idea of a car ring tone.
 "It should be a manually operated noisemaker, a button on the steering
 wheel triggering
 a recording of your choice," he said. "It could play 'In-a-Gadda-Da- 

Ruby J. Polk
Braille Skills of Kansas City
Essential For The Twenty-First Century

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