The sounds of silence a danger in the future of electric cars
In the near future, a leisurely stroll down Oxford Street or the Champs-Élysées could be accompanied by the soundtrack of Star Wars-style Podracers whizzing past. New European plans to introduce artificial warning sounds to zero-emission vehicles are aimed at preventing pedestrians, cyclists and, in particular, visually-impaired people from stepping into the path of silent or near-silent battery-powered cars. According to The Times, testing of various sounds will soon begin at Warwick University, which is working with several electric-vehicle manufacturers in England. Professor Paul Jennings told the newspaper: "We will have a week with music and weeks with natural sounds, engine noise and also with science-fiction sounds. We need to find noises which alert people to the approaching vehicle without causing the annoyance people already feel when they hear the bleeping sounds of reversing trucks."