Tests Held with Visually Impaired to Check Danger of Noiseless Hybrid, Electric Cars

Tests Held with Visually Impaired to Check Danger of Noiseless Hybrid, Electric Cars

Posted on Aug.20, 2009, by , under Educational


A test to study the danger of noiseless hybrid and electric cars to pedestrians was held with the cooperation of some 20 visually impaired participants.

While automakers enjoy brisk sales of the eco-friendly next-generation vehicles, there have been some claims that the engine noise of hybrid and electric cars is barely audible for pedestrians to notice approaching vehicles.

In the field test, a Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism study committee conducted experiments to gauge the audibility of such automobiles, and the danger pedestrians could face due to their quietness.

Hybrid cars including the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight and Nissan Altima, and Mitsubishi Motors’ electric car i-MiEV were compared with a conventional gasoline vehicle in terms of the noise they produced at low speeds of 10 kilometers per hour or less, medium speeds of around 25 kilometers per hour, and upon stopping or starting to move.

Various other sounds, including a chime and fake engine noise, were also used to see if they could warn the visually impaired and other committee members of quiet cars approaching.

“We could hardly hear the cars approaching when they ware running at low speeds of less than 10 kilometers per hour. It is imperative that we can recognize vehicles by sound, and that the volume is loud enough,” said Yoshihiko Sasagawa, president of the Japan Federation of the Blind and a member of the study committee.

The committee is hoping to set out countermeasures by the end of the year.

Source for complete article: http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/national/news/20090806p2a00m0na003000c.html