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We need noise!!

Updated: Jun 11, 2020

We all have been witnessing and hearing a lot about the Electric Vehicle revolution worldwide and now its slowly picking up in India. Europe, USA have made substantial progress in terms of bringing hybrids and all electric cars on to their roads. Electric Vehicles have been hailed as an end to air and noise pollution as they are really quiet! But the question arises, Can we withstand silence.

We all need silence but silence on roads definitely feels like a nightmare isnt it? On a more serious note, people with hearing and visual disabilities, elderly people are the ones who need to know the presence of vehicles on roads. This is for the obvious reason of safety. At present, blind people and elderly especially are able to safely walk on roads due to the perception of the vehicles caused by the sound of the engines.

But that may be a problem with electric vehicles as they are noise-free. Not only have the disabled but even normal people needed sound of engines to know the presence of vehicles. Many pedestrians and motorists are always distracted on the roads mainly due to the most important invention of human kind, the cell phone. At present, there are too many accidents involving normal vehicles. If Electric Vehicles come into picture, there is a high chance of accidents increasing.

The solution for the above problem lies in a system called Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (AVAS). The function of this system is to make sounds to alert pedestrians and fellow motorists on the road. This particular system has been introduced in electric cars like Nissan Leaf and other big names in car manufacturing like General Motors, Chevrolet have introduced this system in their electric car variants.

How does this work?

Electric Vehicles are silent up-to certain amount of speed, after that they are audible fairly due to the sound produced by the wheels and the aerodynamic wind friction. But that’s where the danger lies, especially when they slow down at intersections or while negotiating turns. If the people are not paying attention or if any disabled person is trying to cross the road, there is a high probability of accident occurring. To avoid this, the electric vehicles are fitted with a sound system which alerts the pedestrians and other drivers of their approach. The system automatically switches off once the speed rises to a certain level.

It’s a Law!!

European Union has passed a strict legislation that all the Electric Vehicles must be fitted with a sound system to alert fellow drivers and pedestrians, especially the disabled. The United States of America has directed automakers to develop the solutions to make Electric Vehicles safe for all. Now it’s time for countries like India to adopt this safety measure before Electric Vehicles become common.

Why India?

Electric Vehicles are rising in India at a steady pace. Particularly in the two and three wheeler segment we are finding a lot of development and slowly the number is increasing. We all know the traffic conditions in India and with conventional vehicles, the accident rate has been pretty high and major cause of casualty here is not lack of noise but lack of care and sense.

We find a lot of the drivers and pedestrians, leave alone the disabled, who are always distracted and use cellphones while driving. If electric vehicles come into picture, there is a very high probability of the number of accidents increasing. To stop this catastrophe, and to make electric vehicles safe and dependable to consumers, we need to introduce as many safety measures as possible before the number of electric vehicles increases by leaps and bounds.

Which Noise is suitable?

Since electric vehicles are a new trend, there has been no set standards to govern the EVs. Automakers who have adopted AVAS, have produced their own unique design, including the sound which is used to alert the people. This has been a cause of concern and blind people particularly have expressed their inability to properly recognize the sound. Hence it is recommended that a standard sound of a particular kind be used in all the AVAS systems. Research is ongoing on this aspect to determine which particular sound would be suitable.

Noise is a part of life.

No matter how much people complain about noise pollution, it is now a proven fact that people cannot live without noise. If roads become quiet, then it would be nerve wracking for people to commute and make them live in constant fear. Hence, no matter how much innovation we bring in, we cannot eliminate noise completely.

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