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Friday 1st July 2011

Chevrolet creates sound system for silent cars

Chevrolet’s engineers have teamed up with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) to create a sound alert for electric and hybrid cars.

Chevrolet has created the ‘Pedestrian Friendly Alert System’ to help combat the safety problem associated with blind/partially sighted people being unable to hear hybrid and electric vehicles.

Stephanie Mackey, teacher in charge for mobility & independence at the Royal National College for the Blind, said: “In order to cross a road safely someone who cannot see the traffic has to use their hearing to locate the presence and proximity of oncoming cars: a silent vehicle would not be detectable.

“The sound of a busy road can tell someone without sight which direction they are facing or allow them to use the sound of the traffic flow to take a straight line of travel along a pavement. Visually impaired people would be disadvantaged in a world where silent vehicles become commonplace.”

Chevrolet’s testing with the NFB team in Detroit, USA, revealed the alert needed to be automotive in nature so people can identify the Volt (Chevrolet’s new electric vehicle) as a car; as a result engineers designed the warning to sound like a car horn. When driving at speed less than 64km/h the sound can be used to alert people that the vehicle is approaching.

For more information contact Joe Morell on +44 20 7067 0509.

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