Jaguar has designed an audible alert system to warn blind, visually impaired and other vulnerable road users that an electric vehicle is approaching.
The Audible Vehicle Alert System (AVAS) was developed by
Jaguar engineers to exceed the forthcoming European legislation, set to come
into place in July 2019, by ensuring the sound is emitted exceeds 56dB and
operates up to speeds of 20km/h.
Iain Suffield, Jaguar NVH Technical Specialist, said the
absence of traditional engine noise creates a problem for vulnerable
pedestrians. He added:
“This is especially true at low speeds in town centres and
car parks. 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.”
After more than four years of development, Jaguar engineers
worked on making a sound which is discreet and cannot be heard within the cabin.
The sounds were tested in a number of environments, including a specialist
echo-free room and various urban scenarios.
The decision was made to emit the sound from a speaker
behind the front grille. The AVAS system can be heard in all directions, with
the sound increasing in pitch and volume in line with the speed of the vehicle.
When reverse is selected a different tone is produced to denote a change of
Initially Jaguar engineers had planned to use a sci-fi
sound, however it was shelved as it was determined that pedestrians reacted by
looking to the sky instead of the road.
To test the I-PACE’s new system, members of the Guide Dogs
for the Blind, took part in the trials, which marks the start of an ongoing
relationship between the two organisations. John WelsmanPolicy Business Partner
for the Guide Dogs for the Blind, said the charity has campaigned hard to make
it compulsory for quiet vehicles to have a sound generating system.
He added: “We applaud Jaguar for being the first to launch
an EV which meets standards before the new legislation even comes in and look
forward to working with the company more in the future.”