Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hybrid cars too quiet for pedestrian safety?

18.11.2008
Add engine noise, say human factors researchers

Quiet hybrid cars pose a hazard to pedestrians that simulated engine noise could mitigate

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.

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.

Lois Smith | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.hfes.org
http://www.hfes.org/web/HFESNews/HFES08_Sound_Quiet_Vehicles.pdf

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>