[Nfbmo] Fw: [Nfb-announce] From The Washington Post.

Fred Olver goodfolks at charter.net
Mon Jun 14 12:44:15 UTC 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "james sofka" <jamessofka at att.net>
To: <nfb-announce at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Saturday, June 12, 2010 10:59 PM
Subject: [Nfb-announce] From The Washington Post.

> Hi, all.
> For your information.
> Jim Sofka.
> Nissan makes the Leaf rustle; Car manufacturer adds noises to quiet 
> electric vehicle to alert pedestrians to its presence. by Peter Whoriskey. 
> It was  quiet. Maybe too quiet. With advocates for pedestrians and the 
> blind warning that hybrid and electric cars could catch strollers unaware, 
> the designers of the Nissan Leaf have added sound effects to the otherwise 
> nearly silent vehicle. After exploring a hundred sounds that ranged from 
> chimes to motorlike to futuristic, the company settled on a soft whine 
> that fluctuates in intensity with the car's speed. When backing up, the 
> car makes a clanging sound. Nissan says it worked with advocates for the 
> blind, a Hollywood sound-design company and acoustic psychologists in 
> creating its system of audible alerts. While silence is golden, it does 
> present practical challenges," a Nissan statement said. The Leaf is 
> scheduled to go on sale in part of the United States in December. Nissan 
> added the artificial noises as lawmakers and regulators study whether auto 
> manufacturers should be required to install warning sounds in their 
> vehicles to alert pedestrians. With more than 1.6 million hybrid vehicles 
> on the road, and the number of electric cars expected to rise with the 
> introduction of more vehicles like the Leaf, a number of safety advocates 
> have warned of the dangers to pedestrians. According to a study by the 
> National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last year, hybrid vehicles 
> are twice as likely as conventional cars to be involved in a pedestrian 
> crash in some low-speed situations. Others have argued that adding sounds 
> to cars works against decades  of effort by automakers  to make cars that 
> run quietly. Some electric car companies complained that silence is one of 
> the main virtues of the battery-run cars. Nissan's sound system is the 
> first created by a major manufacturer. The company says it is controlled 
> by a computer and synthesizer in the dash panel. The  sounds are delivered 
> through a speaker in the engine compartment. A switch inside the vehicle 
> can turn off the sounds temporarily, but the system automatically resets 
> to "on" at the next ignition cycle. At speeds greater than 20 mph, any 
> car, electric or not, makes significant noise because of the tires 
> slapping on the pavement, engineers say. The noises for the Nissan operate 
> only at the lower speeds. whoriskeyp at washpost.com.
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