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Jaguar’s silent I-PACE will produce engine noise at low speeds

Jaguar’s silent I-PACE will produce engine noise at low speeds

(Posted on 11/10/18)

Jaguar has introduced an audible warning in the sound of engine noise to its electric I-PACE to alert pedestrians when it is approaching at low speed.

The Audible Vehicle Alert System (AVAS) can be heard at speeds up to 20km/h through a speaker located behind the front grille but cannot be heard inside the cabin.

Iain Suffield, Jaguar noise, vibration and harshness technical specialist, said: “The absence of traditional engine noise from electric vehicles creates a problem for vulnerable pedestrians, such as the blind or visually impaired. This is especially true at low speeds in town centres and car parks. We developed the Audible Vehicle Alert System for the I-PACE to ensure the safety of all road users. Our potentially life-saving technology cannot be switched off and as the leading charity for people with sight loss, we are pleased to have the support of Guide Dogs to ensure real people are at the heart of our product testing.”

The audible sound was tested by members of Guide Dogs for the Blind as part of testing undertaken by Jaguar and engineers worked for four years to develop an audible soundtrack that is discreet.

Initial attempts to create a noise inspired by the sound of sci-fi spacecraft had to be shelved after pedestrians reacted by looking up to the sky, rather than at the road, as the vehicle approached.

Engineers tested sounds in a range of environments, including an anechoic chamber (specialist echo-free room) and various urban scenarios, before settling on the final sound for the I-PACE. It can be heard in every direction and cannot be disengaged.

The alert increases in pitch and volume in line with the speed of the vehicle and, when in reverse, is accompanied by an additional tone that indicates the change in direction. AVAS is not required at higher speeds as there is enough wind and tyre noise for pedestrians to hear the zero-emissions vehicle approaching.

John Welsman, policy business partner (travel and mobility), Guide Dogs for the Blind, added: “There are two million children and adults living in the UK affected by sight loss. That is why Guide Dogs campaigned hard to make it compulsory for quiet vehicles to have sound generating systems built in and turned on, including when the vehicle is stationary at a pedestrian crossing. We applaud Jaguar for being the first to launch an EV which meets standards before the new legislation even comes in and look forward to working with the company more in the future.”

The Audible Vehicle Alert System (AVAS) exceeds the 56dB(A) minimum required by forthcoming European legislation – the strictest in the world – for all new EVs from July 2019.

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