Nissan has collaborated with ten other companies on the creation of a next generation pedestrian alert system which would produce a number of audible cues to alert pedestrians and other road users of an approaching EV, without impacting noise pollution levels.
With the number of electric vehicles on our roads growing all the time, pedestrian alert technology has become a hot topic. The low noise levels of electric vehicles (EVs) have long been seen as a strong benefit, reducing noise pollution levels and providing a relaxing driving experience.
However, with the EVs being so quiet on the road, it is essential that a pedestrian alert system is developed to make people aware of nearby EVs to minimise the risk of accidents.
With Nissan being one of the leading manufacturers in the EV market, and developer of the Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians (VSP) – a piece of equipment fitted to all Nissan EVs – they have made pedestrian alert systems one of their key areas of research.
David Quinn, Nissan’s e-VADER Project Leader, said: “Pedestrian safety is of the utmost importance to Nissan, which is why we already have a pedestrian alert installed on our EVs as a preventative measure. As leaders in the EV market, we were keen to use our considerable experience to examine possible systems for future development in this field. Our objective has been to find an optimum balance between ensuring the cars are detectable, whilst retaining the reduction in noise pollution, which is one of the great benefits that EVs offer.”
The role Nissan has played in bringing EV technology to mass-market has been pivotal. In 2010, the introduction of the Nissan LEAF revolutionised the motoring world. It was the first mass-market, all-electric EV launched globally and it still remains the number one selling EV in history.
This experience was essential when working on the e-VADER project, which took three years to complete. Nissan drew on their extensive knowledge to integrate the range of technologies provided by the other consortium members into a demonstration vehicle, ensuring that the sounds created where clearly audible without impacting on the ambient noise levels.
The sound created not only had to be targeted at specific pedestrians, but it also couldn't be too intrusive, keeping annoyance to a minimum. Loud siren-like noises were ruled out from an early stage as they were too irritating, loud and emotionally upsetting to other road users.
The production model of the system uses a camera built into the windscreen that recognises pedestrians, cyclists and other road users. Once detected, the system beams the sound directly at them, alerting them of their presence. The sound is five decibels lower than that of a conventional petrol or diesel engine.
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