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Transportation Technology

Nissan Gives Electric Cars Blade Runner Audio Effect 553

Posted by timothy
from the downloadable-cartones-just-$10-each dept.
mateuscb writes "A campaign backed by automakers and some lawmakers to make electric or hybrid cars noisier in a bid to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists has taken a strange, Blade Runner-type twist. Nissan sound engineers have announced that the Leaf electric car set for release next year will emit a 'beautiful and futuristic' noise similar to the sound of flying cars — or 'spinners' — that buzz around 2019 Los Angeles in Ridley Scott's dystopian thriller based on a Philip K. Dick science fiction novel."
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Nissan Gives Electric Cars 'Blade Runner' Audio Effect

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  • But... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by e4g4 (533831) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @04:36PM (#29478489)
    ...one of the nice things about electric cars is that they're so quiet. Can you turn the sound off?
    • Re:But... (Score:5, Funny)

      by mrmeval (662166) <mrmeval@@@gmail...com> on Saturday September 19, 2009 @04:40PM (#29478523) Journal

      I will change it to a ominous hum.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Tie Fighter anyone?

      • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dotgain (630123) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @05:01PM (#29478691) Homepage Journal
        But at TFS says, it's a 'safety feature', I'd imagine you could 'turn it off' about as easily as the airbags or that thing that beeps when you're in reverse, and that's not without messing with wiring.
        • Re:But... (Score:5, Informative)

          by paeanblack (191171) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @05:30PM (#29478889)

          But at TFS says, it's a 'safety feature', I'd imagine you could 'turn it off' about as easily as the airbags or that thing that beeps when you're in reverse, and that's not without messing with wiring.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_flag_laws

          These proposals are just as idiotic.

          It's the drivers' responsibility to maintain control of their vehicles and be cognizant of sudden dangers in the street. Any attempts delegate this responsibility onto pedestrians, wildlife, and falling trees are completely retarded.

          • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by SteveFoerster (136027) <steve@stevefoers ... com minus author> on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:49PM (#29479397) Homepage

            It's the drivers' responsibility to maintain control of their vehicles and be cognizant of sudden dangers in the street. Any attempts delegate this responsibility onto pedestrians, wildlife, and falling trees are completely retarded.

            I agree that this is the driver's responsibility, but considering we're talking about stopping people from getting smooshed by cars, is alerting pedestrians as a sort of back up system really that objectionable?

          • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Craevenwulfe (611318) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:50PM (#29479405)

            Try being blind and then guessing when it's safe to cross the road...

            • by name_already_taken (540581) on Sunday September 20, 2009 @09:41AM (#29482511)

              Try being blind and then guessing when it's safe to cross the road...

              I've read the articles where the blind people are freaked out by hybrid cars that they can't hear (when the car pulls away from a stop, for example). We can all understand why we want blind people to know there is a moving vehicle near them.

              The thing is, simple economics dictates that it would make far more sense to equip the blind people with car proximity sensors of some kind, rather than make every car noisy.

              There are far fewer blind people than cars. We can reasonably assume that in the future there will be many more hybrid or electric cars which produce little to no sound at low speeds.

              Imagine the benefit of having areas free from engine noise - why artificially make every car noisy just for the safety of a very small portion of the population who can't see them?

              It'd be easy enough to equip every car with something that produces ultrasonic sound or low power radio waves, and give blind people a device they can wear that will detect the car proximity signal and indicate to the blind person (perhaps by vibration) where nearby cars are.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by MouseR (3264)

        Next we'll have the kiddie ring tones and the nerdy Phytonesque "Run Away!!! Run Away!!!".

        Greatâ¦

      • I will change it to a ominous hum.

        And some giggling teenager will change it to a loud burping noise.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by sukotto (122876)

        I'll just have it emit whatever's playing on my stereo.
        If I'm not playing anything, well then the choices are endless aren't they?
        Tie fighter? Popcorn popping? Porn sounds? Crying baby? Lightsaber hum? Maniacal laughter?
        Hell, I could have a different sound every day!

    • Re:But... (Score:5, Funny)

      by rvw (755107) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @04:41PM (#29478527)

      ...one of the nice things about electric cars is that they're so quiet. Can you turn the sound off?

      By then we will not download ringtones anymore, but cartones. Think of the possibilities! Make your Focus sound like a Ferrari, make it swing like Michael Jackson. Living next to the highway will be very entertaining.

    • Re:But... (Score:5, Funny)

      by thermopile (571680) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @04:42PM (#29478533) Homepage
      If it sounds like what I think it's going to sound like, I sure hope you can turn the sound off. This youtube link appears to be what the Spinners sound like [youtube.com]. Ick; it's cheesy electro-techno.

      I mean, seriously, a "whooshing" sound would be more credible. A soundtrack is too garish.

    • Re:But... (Score:5, Informative)

      by prof187 (235849) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @04:46PM (#29478567) Homepage

      According to the article, the sound is supposed to turn off after the car reaches 12 mph because at that point they say the tire noise is enough to let you be able to hear it adequately.

    • We're Americans, dammit. Electric Cars, making no noise, are dainty and prissy. Carbonalicious Cars that go Vrooom-Vroooom, these are the cars that Real Men drive.

      I'm saying it in a snarky way (it's my curse), but you know that is what the auto-marketers are thinking. Safety? Oh, please...!

    • But one of the nice things about electric cars is that they're so quiet. Can you turn the sound off?

      If it can't be turned off, then I, for one, won't be buying one. Modern life is noisy enough as it is.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FlyByPC (841016)

        But one of the nice things about electric cars is that they're so quiet. Can you turn the sound off?

        If it can't be turned off, then I, for one, won't be buying one. Modern life is noisy enough as it is.

        Of *course* it can be turned off. Find the speakers, grab some diagonal cutters...

    • by Yokaze (70883)

      > ...one of the nice things about electric cars is that they're so quiet.

      It depends on the point of view and amount of noise.

      > Can you turn the sound off?

      Maybe not. In Japan, a law has been discussed, which would require cars to make some sound, as there were some accidents involving hybrid cars, which were too silent.
      Streets in resedential areas in Japan can be quite narrow with buildings close to both sides. So cars are driving relatively slow and you
      can't look very far around the corners of a cross

  • Do electric sheep make noise as well in 2019?

  • Siren Noise (Score:5, Funny)

    by Karganeth (1017580) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @04:37PM (#29478499)
    They should make some kind of noise that sounds significantly different when its coming towards you compared with going away from you, just like how an ambulance or police siren is.
  • It's too bad they won't live. But then again, what does.

  • by StormyWeather (543593) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @04:43PM (#29478543) Homepage

    Just put a card in the spokes. Yea, it's nerdy, but so is the car.

    http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/bto/20090918/NISSAN_EV6.jpg [com.com]

  • Ffffffsssss (Score:5, Funny)

    by thewils (463314) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @04:45PM (#29478561) Journal

    I would want that sound that the USS Enterprise makes as it whizzes through space...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fahrbot-bot (874524)

      I would want that sound that the USS Enterprise makes as it whizzes through space. (emphasis mine)

      Technically... It already does and that appears to be the "problem". :-)

      This issue is ridiculous and assumes that the blind and inattentive notice any sound all the time. My Civic is super quite at slow speeds. Should it also be *required* to be louder?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Rob T Firefly (844560)
      Throw in the sound of the TARDIS from Doctor Who and I'll finally have a reason to get a driver's license.
  • by ZackSchil (560462) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @04:46PM (#29478571)

    I want my car to sound like the flying cars from The Jetsons [getdropbox.com]. Then I can at least pretend that I got the future I was promised as a child.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @04:47PM (#29478573)

    In response, Mazda has announced that their cars will play an endless loop of a 6 year old saying "zoom-zoom!"

  • Car Ring Tones!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 19, 2009 @04:47PM (#29478585)

    From the article ~ "Some reports suggest that in the future, car owners will download a sound for their car the way many consumers buy ring tones for their cellphones."

    Oh crap, now we have to listen to cars playing crappy tunes on bad speakers all the time. Can't their be a law against this proposed. I think a few dead pedestrians is worth the loss of the noise pollution.

  • by jafo (11982) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @04:48PM (#29478591) Homepage
    Yay! Pretty soon we'll be able to buy ringtones for our cars! Now kids won't have to go deaf turning their music up loud enough that everyone around can hear it. The Hip-hop ring tones will play on an outside speaker! Hooray.

    Sean
  • ringtone (Score:2, Funny)

    by nexar-andy (246769)

    Great...
    What's next? A ringtone for your car?

  • Nissan sound engineers have announced

    What exactly would these people do on a daily basis?

  • Tap into your stereo, problem of silly noises solved.

  • Strange world (Score:2, Interesting)

    by oldhack (1037484)
    Funny world we live in. Car noise became so ubiquitous, we "need" them.
  • Example of the sound (Score:4, Informative)

    by sebaseba (1617571) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @05:01PM (#29478693) Homepage
    An example of the sound is apparently this one [youtube.com]. Not sure tho', found on an another site.
  • Deaf people cope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gilesjuk (604902) <.giles.jones. .at. .zen.co.uk.> on Saturday September 19, 2009 @05:03PM (#29478705)

    They actually bother to look, unlike many pedestrians who listen for traffic. Cyclists have to brake sharp or take evasive action to avoid these clowns.

  • by nnnneedles (216864) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @05:09PM (#29478755)

    Please not ringtone cars. Please please please. It's ten years into the future and I can't stand it already.

  • Just make massive subwoofers and reggaeton mandatory, problem solved.

  • I'm not sold... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mick88 (198800) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @05:57PM (#29479093) Homepage
    TFA links to the National Federation for the Blind's article about this topic. Here's the most relevant snippet: >> While there are no national data on pedestrian injuries or deaths related to low-noise cars... Ok - guys: get some data! This is just plain ridiculous to pass a law based on a mere assumption that quiet cars might cause a problem. If someone can prove that this is a plague upon the nation - great; pass the law. But otherwise this is a fake problem. I've owned a civic hybrid and a prius. Neither were really noticeably quieter (even when the prius was operating electric only) than your typical accord / camry. Does anyone have any data at all anywhere showing the increased incident rate for quiet cars? I'd love to see it, but I'm pretty sure it's not there.
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @06:16PM (#29479231) Homepage Journal

    They smell like flying cars, they sound like flying cars, they look like flying cars [whifbitz.co.uk], they probably even taste like flying cars, but they CANNOT give us a . . .damned . . . FLYING . . . CAR !?

  • Downloadable (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PPH (736903) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @11:24PM (#29480731)

    Like ringtones.

    I mean, if Nissan dosn't catch a clue about this, it'll be hacked anyway.

  • boots're made for (Score:4, Informative)

    by Triv (181010) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @11:57PM (#29480855) Journal

    Your eyes aren't everything - I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm much faster to react to something I hear over something I see.

    I live in a fairly large city in the northeast US. I walk a lot, but not like true urban walking - it's a mile and a half to the train station, and I walk it twice a day outside of light groceries and the like. I grew up walking in NYC and its suburbs, and I've been lucky enough to never actually need a driver's license. My feet do me just fine for most things.

    So believe me when I say that the idea of a truly silent car terrifies me. I look both ways when I cross the street, I don't habitually jaywalk, I follow street signs and stay on the curb until the light changes, but if all that fails or if a driver isn't paying the same kind of attention I am to the road (he has a steel cage around him; I don't) I rely on my ears. I've had my ass saved on more than one occasion by hearing a car swinging around a corner towards me that I couldn't see yet.

    There are a lot of stupid drivers on the road. There are also a lot of careless or over-confident pedestrians. But I can't see this as a bad thing - my eyes might keep me from walking out into the middle of traffic, but my ears are what get me to step back quickly onto the curb because somebody in a car isn't being careful.

  • by jonwil (467024) on Sunday September 20, 2009 @01:03AM (#29481077)

    Electric cars should have the noise of cars.

  • "I've... driven things you people wouldn't believe. Set Priuses on fire off the corner of Orion Street. I watched Smart cars sputter in the dark near the Tenhauser Tunnel. All those... models will be lost in time, like... tears in the rain."
  • by XNormal (8617) on Sunday September 20, 2009 @08:25AM (#29482333) Homepage

    The sound should be as un-musical and as noiselike as possible. White noise and impulses are much easier to localize. It is almost impossible to identify the direction from which a narrowband signal is coming.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdmPouNLTlU [youtube.com]

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