Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hybrid Cars Too Quiet For Pedestrian Safety? Add Engine Noise, Say Researchers

Date:
November 19, 2008
Source:
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
Summary:
Hybrid and electric vehicles do not emit the sounds pedestrians and bicyclists are accustomed to hearing as a vehicle approaches them. Human factors/ergonomics researchers examined participants' preferences for sounds that could be added to quiet vehicles to make them easier to detect.

Important pedestrian safety issues have emerged with the advent of hybrid and electric vehicles. These vehicles are relatively quiet—they do not emit the sounds pedestrians and bicyclists are accustomed to hearing as a vehicle approaches them on the street or at an intersection. In a recent study, human factors/ergonomics researchers examined participants' preferences for sounds that could be added to quiet vehicles to make them easier to detect.

Related Articles


Though the safety of quiet vehicles has become an issue for pedestrians in general, it is also of concern to the National Federation for the Blind, which has called for quiet vehicles to emit a continuous sound and for additional research on the subject. The authors suggest that older individuals with diminished sensory and motor skills should also be considered as solutions are developed.

In their paper published in the Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 52nd Annual Meeting, Patrick Nyeste and Michael S. Wogalter of North Carolina State University evaluated responses of 24 participants (mean age = 19.4 years) to six categories of sounds that might be added to quiet vehicles: engine, horn, hum, siren, whistle, and white noise. Three variations of each type of sound were tested.

Study participants rated automotive engine sounds by far the preferred category, followed by white noise and hum. The authors suggest that these categories of sounds rated highly because they are associated with the engine sounds of conventional motor vehicles.

Automakers have continually worked to refine passenger vehicle power trains to be smoother and quieter but now find themselves faced with demands to make their quietest vehicles louder. Noise pollution caused by adding sounds to these vehicles could be limited by the use of a "smart" system that would change the level of emitted sound depending on the levels of vehicle and background environmental sound. These systems would turn themselves off if the vehicle produces adequate sound on its own.

At least one automaker, Lotus Engineering, has attempted to address the quiet hybrid issue. The company introduced "Safe and Sound," which mimics the sound of an internal combustion engine and operates when the vehicle is in electric-only mode.

The authors note that their research is also applicable to silent-engine vehicles such as electric golf carts, bicycles, wheelchairs, and Segways, which have caused injuries because of their quiet operation.

Research to further define the issues involved and develop possible solutions is being conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as well as by automobile manufacturers and the Society of Automotive Engineers International. The U.S. Congress is considering the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2008, which would require the Secretary of Transportation to study and implement regulations for hybrid, electric, and other silent-engine vehicles to emit nonvisual alerts for pedestrians.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. "Hybrid Cars Too Quiet For Pedestrian Safety? Add Engine Noise, Say Researchers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081117091633.htm>.
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. (2008, November 19). Hybrid Cars Too Quiet For Pedestrian Safety? Add Engine Noise, Say Researchers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081117091633.htm
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. "Hybrid Cars Too Quiet For Pedestrian Safety? Add Engine Noise, Say Researchers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081117091633.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

3D Printed Cookies Just in Time for Christmas

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) A tech company in Spain have combined technology with cuisine to develop the 'Foodini', a 3D printer designed to print the perfect cookie for Santa. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Etihad Superjumbo Flight in December

First Etihad Superjumbo Flight in December

AFP (Dec. 18, 2014) The first flight of Etihad Airways' long-awaited Airbus A380 superjumbo will take place later in December, the Abu Dhabi carrier said Thursday, also announcing its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner route. Duration: 01:09 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ford Expands Air Bag Recall Nationwide

Ford Expands Air Bag Recall Nationwide

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The automaker added 447,000 vehicles to its recall list, bringing the total to more than 502,000. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins