Jaguar Worked With The Visually Impaired To Add Noise To Its Electric I-Pace

Cars make noise. Or at least conventional cars, with internal combustion engines, do. But electric vehicles don’t. And that’s not unfortunate not only for those of us who cherish the sound of a performance car, but for pedestrians and other road users who rely on sound to tell when a vehicle’s approaching. And it’s especially dangerous for the visually impaired.

That’s why Jaguar worked with Guide Dogs for the Blind to develop an Audible Vehicle Alert System for its all-electric I-Pace crossover. The system emits specially designed sounds from behind the grille at low speeds to give an audible cue that a vehicle is in motion nearby.

And it’s not just a flat sound, either, or a consistent chirp. Jaguar’s AVAS caters its pitch and volume along with the vehicle’s speed, and adds an additional tone when it’s turning. It can’t be disengaged, but only works at speeds below 12.5 mph (20 km/h), above which the wind and tire noise are deemed sufficient to warn of the vehicle’s approach.

“The absence of traditional engine noise from electric vehicles creates a problem for vulnerable pedestrians, such as the blind or visually impaired,” explained Jaguar NVH engineer Iain Suffield. “We developed the Audible Vehicle Alert System for the I-PACE to ensure the safety of all road users. Our potentially life-saving technology cannot be switched off and as the leading charity for people with sight loss, we are pleased to have the support of Guide Dogs to ensure real people are at the heart of our product testing.”

The technology was developed in conjunction with the charitable organization for the blind over the course of four years, and already exceeds European regulations, mandating a noise of at least 56 dB(A), set to come into effect in July 2019.

Why did it take so long to develop? The automaker initially experimented with a sound “closer to a sci-fi spacecraft”, but found that pedestrians reflexively looked upwards towards the sky. So they went back to the audio drawing board, as it were, and tested different sounds in anechoic chambers and various urban scenarios until they arrived at the right combination of noises.

more photos...

  • Jay

    Mind as well just giver an engine sound. vroom vroom. I’d be the one take the sounds from video game cars and use those instead.

    • Ken Lyns

      The treehuggers that buy these can’t accept that.

    • Mike anonymous

      What if you could customize the sound? So when you drive your vehicle could sound like one of the cars from Mario Cart, or maybe something else, as you drive along.

      I’m not sure if you meant to be sarcastic, but I think this would actually be a neat idea.

      • Jay

        I was serious.

  • S3XY

    Doesn’t protect anybody. You’re the driver. If you see someone you wait. Simple.

    All these noises sound lame. Only noise that ever sounded good was the Fisker Karma’s.

    And all cars have a standard noise generator, it’s called the stereo.

    • Matt

      You can’t necessarily hear the stereo from outside the car, and not everybody listens to loud music.

    • Mike anonymous

      Ok, while I do disagree regarding the fact it doesn’t help anybody, it actually would come in handy for a wide range of people (example: visually impaired, newcomers to alternative energy vehicles, etc),.. I am EXTREMELY happy that you mentioned the Fisker Karma here (as they were the first to implement a feature like that).

      That vehicle had an amazing sound. (Fun: fact, the same man who designed the sound for the Fisker Karma, designed the sound for the Bat Mobile).

    • Marty

      Nonsense, you will not wait. If people don’t know you are there, they will not move.

      Of course this will protect people. Everyone who has ever ridden a bike knows that no matter how careful you drive, people who can’t hear you coming will act in unpredictable ways and even jump right into your way.

      As a matter of fact, this is a non-issue. In a few years people will not even believe we even discussed it because they will think that this is just how cars sound.

    • ➡️ProtectOurHeritage⬅️

      Absolute rubbish. If the Guide Dogs for the Blind charity says it works, then it is good enough for most. You managed to move out of your parent’s basement and save up enough money for that Tesla yet?

  • DIGITAL POLLUTION.
    ALL THE ADVANCES OF ELECTRIC CARS, NOISE REDUCTION, CLEANER AIR THEN REGULATOR REQUIRE IT BE PUT BACK.

    • Marty

      As soon as you get up to speed, an electric car will be as noisy as a combustion car.
      This is for speeds below 20 km/h when some kind of intuitive audio cue is needed, and since there will be no lower frequencies like in combustion engines the noise will not travel further than it needs.

    • ➡️ProtectOurHeritage⬅️

      You are unable to construct proper sentences so you seek attention by writing in CAPSLOCK.
      Interesting.

  • Howfarr

    Since when do blind people just walk out into the road anyway?
    They rely on pedestrian crossings, asking people, and guide dogs that aren’t trained to recognize the sound of car anyway.

V8-Powered Ford Fusion With 450 HP And RWD Is The Closest Thing To A Mustang Sedan

Not content with the stock 325 HP twin-turbo V6, the owner of this saloon fitted a tuned Coyote engine and a 2007 ‘Stang GT500 transmission.

Kevin Hart’s Plymouth Barracuda Crash Investigated By Californian Authorities

The California Highway Patrol may recommend modified cars like Hart’s are fitted with five-point safety harnesses.

2020 Genesis G90 Vs. 2019 Mercedes S-Class: Underdog Takes On Top Dog

The 2020 G90 is fantastic value for money, but is it good enough to take on the luxury segment’s benchmark?.

Here’s a Close Look At The ID.3, Volkswagen’s Most Important New Car In Many Decades

The all-new compact electric hatchback is available in three different battery and electric motor configurations.

Mercedes SL 73 AMG: Rarer Than A Pagani Zonda And The Coolest R129 Of Them All

If you like 1990s AMGs, this SL 73 is the pick of the decade, packing a healthy 525 HP and being made in no more than 50 examples .

What Is BMW Testing With This M8 Prototype At The Nurburgring?

One possibility is that it’s an even more hardcore variant of the Competition, and another that the rear wing is going to be offered as an M Performance part.

Bugatti CEO Reveals More Track-Focused Chiron Variants Are Coming

Now that it has made a point about its hypercar’s top speed with the 300+, Bugatti will turn its attention to other aspects like power-to-weight ratio and ultimate handling.

Check Out This Frosted Glass Blue Audi R8 Coupe With A Dual-Tone Interior

Adding an Audi Exclusive color to your R8 V10 Coupe will cost you nearly $4k in the States for a matte finish – otherwise, you’re looking at close to $7k.

Ford Sells Its Canvas Vehicle Subscription Service To Fair

Canvas only served a reported 3,800 customers, while Fair’s app-based subscription program has been downloaded more than 3.2 million times.

Ferrari Shall Keep Production Below Demand To Safeguard Its Status

Ferrari say they will always deliver one car less than the market demands in order to maintain their models’ desirability .