The problem with silence

Sound is an important contributor to road safety for pedestrians, and not only for the blind or visually impaired. Electric and hybrid vehicles are almost silent; they are only audible once they have built up some speed (approximately 20mph) when wind and road noise generate enough sound that they can be heard. Studies have concluded that electric and hybrid vehicles pose a danger to vulnerable road users (VRU) and increase the risk of incidents with pedestrians by up to 80%.

Ahead of the standards in both the US and EU being introduced next year we are launching our QVS in 2018. These standards ensure minimum sound requirements for electric and hybrid vehicles to protect vulnerable road users (VRUs). Sound generators will need to be fitted to make the engines “sound similar” to vehicles with combustion engines when travelling at low speed.

Since 2010, Brigade has been involved in the QRTV (Quiet Road Transport Vehicles) working group to establish requirements for the standard. We have developed a multi-frequency Quiet Vehicle Sounder, integrating our patented bbs-tek® technology. This gives greater directional information to the ear allowing the VRU to instantly locate where the sound is coming from and to take evasive action.