Lotus revealed the safe & sound hybrid model, an all-new technology synthesizing external sound in electric and hybrid autos counteracting the rising concern these `quiet` cars pose to cyclists and pedestrians.
Electric and hybrid cars, a favorite choice on the environmentally conscientious recently have come in for the criticism from partially sighted and blind people.
Mike Kimberley, the Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus plc affirmed “The increased acceptance of greener vehicles such as hybrid and electric vehicles is to be encouraged; they have an important role in improving fuel economy and reducing emissions. Our advanced external sound synthesis technology increases pedestrian safety, while retaining the car’s environmental benefits. We hope that legislators introduce minimum noise requirements for vehicles to encourage the adoption of technologies, such as ours, which will ultimately increase pedestrian safety.”
Clive Wood, the Transport Policy Officer for The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association commented: “Blind and partially sighted people use the noise of oncoming traffic as a cue for when it is safe to cross a road – if a ‘quiet’ hybrid electric vehicle is approaching then they will no longer have this cue and are immediately put at risk.
Wood adds: “As the leading voice on transport and mobility issues in the visual impairment sector, Guide Dogs believes further research and development is needed to address the issues of identifying ’quiet vehicles’ for blind and partially sighted people. The charity recognises the environmental benefits of these vehicles however more consideration needs to be given to the safety implications to visually impaired pedestrians.”
Duncan Vernon, the Road Safety Manager, for RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) affirmed: “Road safety professionals teach children that they can improve their safety by listening for traffic, and the sound of an approaching vehicle is a warning that most pedestrians will use before making the decision to cross the road. New electric engines make vehicles much quieter, so we need to look at ways of ensuring the safety of pedestrians. We welcome innovative solutions which address this."
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