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August 19, 2015

eVADER gives the force to electric vehicle safety

Sound to alert pedestrians of approaching quiet electric vehicles could reduce number of road fatalities.

By Joao Lima

Nissan has created a sound alert to assist pedestrian recognition of electric vehicles (EVs).

The automaker took part in an European Commission-led project together with ten other consortium members including Renault, PSA-Citroen and LMS, a Siemens business.

According to the EU, project eVADER was created to investigate the interior and exterior sound scape of EVs for safe operation, considering driver’s feedback, feasible pedestrian reactions, driver and pedestrian warning systems and pedestrian safety.

Nissan’s audio creation could potentially be installed in EVs, producing targetable audible cues to alert pedestrians and other vulnerable road users to the presence of a nearby EV, whilst having minimal impact on noise pollution levels, according to the firm.

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The eVADER research took three years to conclude and ruled out siren-like noises as they were found to be irritating, loud and, in some cases, emotionally upsetting to other road users, the automaker said.

Nissan added that the final version of the system features a camera built into the windscreen, which is programmed to recognise pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.

On detection of a road user, six loudspeakers directionally beam sound at the target to alert them of the presence of the EV.

Nissan said the sound is up to five decibels lower than the sound of a conventional petrol or diesel engine vehicle.

The technology could potentially save thousands of pedestrians and cyclists’ lives.

In the UK, road deaths increased by 4% in 2014 compared with 2013, rising to 1,775 from 1,713, according to the Department of Transport.

The number of people seriously injured increased by 5% to 22,807 in 2014 and three-quarters of the increase in road deaths were pedestrian casualties.

In total, 446 pedestrians and 113 cyclists were killed in the UK’s roads last year, according to the same governmental body.

David Quinn, Nissan’s eVADER Project Leader said: "Our objective has been to find an optimum balance between ensuring the cars are detectable, whilst retaining the reduction in noise pollution, which is one of the great benefits that our EVs offer."

Nissan added that the research and results collated from this project are likely to be utilised to shape future EU legislation on EV pedestrian alert sounds.

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