bitguru blog

a guru of bits, or just a bit player?

Noisier hybrid vehicles?

Posted by bitguru on February 20, 2008

Pedestrians have occasionally complained about near-noiseless hybrid cars sneaking up on them for many years now. However, the National Federation of the Blind is taking it to a new level, and is having some success in pushing for state laws that would require noisier hybrid vehicles.

Let me be perfectly clear. Our society does not need noisier vehicles. If hybrids, or fuel cells, or some other whiz-bang technology results in our our collective fleet becoming whisper quiet, that would be a good thing. All the noise pollution our vehicles currently create is not by design, but is an unintentional artifact of standardizing on the internal combustion engine a century ago.

I’m not unsympathetic to the NFB’s safety concerns, but there has got to be a better way than the wholesale cacophonication of our roadways. Having vehicles emit an RF warning signal instead of an acoustic one, as the linked article cites, sounds reasonable. We should be exploring solutions along those lines.

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