Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nissan LEAF to lead the charge with noisemaker tech in Australia; Toyota says no for now

Toyota has released a video detailing its latest Vehicle Proximity Notification System (VPNS) – a system designed to improve the safety of pedestrians and other road users around near-silent hybrid and electric vehicles by emitting audible warnings – but don’t expect our Prius to get the technology any time soon.

VPNS broadcasts a range of low- and high-pitched noises when travelling below 15mph (24km/h). The pitch of the tone increases and decreases depending on the vehicle’s speed (a function called ‘pitch-shifting’).

Toyota engineers in the US say the system will improve road safety for cyclists, or pedestrians who may be distracted by mobile phones, and insists it will be especially important to the independence of blind pedestrians who rely on audible warnings from vehicles.

Toyota describes the sound as “automotive in nature, but still futuristic to match the advanced powertrain of our hybrid vehicle”, and says it has been developed to remain effective around other ambient noises and parked cars.

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