Adding some noise – for safety’s sake

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The move to quiet, eco-friendly vehicles has brought a new aspect to vehicle/pedestrian safety.  The new cars are so quiet, pedestrians are not alerted to an oncoming vehicle as the engine/exhaust noise is no longer there!

However, Harman, the premium global audio and infotainment group has announced that a major European-based automaker will be integrating Harman’s exclusive HALOsonic™ External Sound Synthesis (ESS) solution in a line of plug-in hybrid vehicles.  This is considered to be potentially life-saving technology that generates sound outside the vehicle, particularly targeted at hybrid or electric vehicles that are virtually silent at low speeds.

The HALOsonic ESS solution generates a synthesized sound, dependent on speed and direction, and projects it from an exterior mounted speaker, giving an early identifiable warning to pedestrians that the car is approaching.  The sound is projected only in the direction of travel, fading away almost instantly once the vehicle has passed.  A synthetic engine ‘idle’ sound is also produced when the vehicle is switched on and placed in gear.

“We are very pleased to be pioneering a new form of safety features for automakers through our HALOsonic sound solutions,” said Dinesh C. Paliwal, the chairman, president, and CEO of Harman.  “With HALOsonic technology onboard vehicles such as ultra-quiet hybrids, these energy-conscious vehicles are also addressing safety concerns through advanced electronics.”

Several countries such as USA, Japan and parts of Europe have either implemented or are currently reviewing legislation to state that hybrid and electric vehicles must emit a recognizable sound above a minimum noise level to help improve pedestrian safety.

In addition to safety benefits, Harman offers a range of audio-based solutions under the HALOsonic banner that also help produce more environmentally-friendly cars beyond only hybrids or electric cars.  Vehicle manufacturers are striving to meet new environmental and emission standards by a variety of means including, for instance, lowering vehicle weight by reducing the amount of noise-dampening insulation in a car’s headliner.  In doing so, cabin noise often increases. Harman’s HALOsonic solutions can produce sounds not only external to the vehicle, but generate noise-cancelling sound inside the vehicle that helps meet environmental goals while increasing driver comfort.

Noise cancelling sound should be compulsory at Thai Karaoke parties!