Sounds and blind pedestrians. Hope not in Europe

Sounds and blind pedestrians. Hope not in Europe


IOW EV:s need a "Beep! Beep! Beep!" whenever they are driven slowly. That's like 1600 laws where people driving cars needed a person running in front of the vehicle with red flag.

I hope European version doesn't have that noisemaker. If it does and I buy it, first thing I will do is use wire cutters to disable that system.

I wonder what that means to Roadsters already sold. Or MiEV:s or any other car with silent engines.

Robert.Boston | December 4, 2011

@EdG: agreed. From time to time here in Boston, traffic lights at major intersections get stuck on "blinker" (which is used normally only in the wee hours of the night) into morning rush hour. Invariably, it takes less time to get through these interchanges, although it always feels far, far riskier.

But I digress. Mandating noise-makers on EVs is simply retrograde regulation. There are similarly silly relicts on the books from the days when horses were being displaced by cars.

A driving law in Denmark on the more unusual side deals with a horse drawn carriage. If a carriage passes you on the road and the horse becomes nervous, you are legally obligated to pull over and let the horse pass – you may even need to cover your car to keep from scaring the horse; so take a blanket with you!

Similarly, any taxi drivers in the Hackney area of London are required to carry a bale of hay and a sack of oats with them at all times. This law dates back to the days when cabs were pulled by horses and drivers were responsible for feeding the animals when they got tired or hungry; but this law is still currently in the books.

In Australia, bars must be able to provide food, water and stables to any of their patron’s horses.

I firmly believe that the "make lots of noise like an old-style ICE car" rules will end up on someone's list of nonsense in 2050.

brianman | December 4, 2011

Add another one to our list of sounds to customize:
- upset horse

Timo | December 6, 2011

@EdG, about traffic lights. I don't object that they are sometimes unnecessary (I know a few places here where they don't do anything else than just slow down everybody). I just don't like oversimplifications, as with traffic signs, traffic lights are usually a good thing if done properly. That doesn't prevent incompetent road engineer designing a system that doesn't work.

In a city not far from my home town it is really hard to navigate without GPS, traffic signs for "which lane to choose" are put too close to actual intersection so that if you are at wrong lane it is usually too late/impossible to change lanes when you realize it because of traffic. Combined with one-way streets so that if you miss your turn, it was complete mystery how to get back there. Getting lost there was not difficult thing to do.

At the era before GPS I many times cursed that "what do they think, we don't have crystal balls here". Now we do.

EdG | December 6, 2011

It is so often interesting to look back at the intractable problems of the past and the solution which has occurred, but which could never have been foreseen.

In your example, also, the blame was to the road engineers, but was eventually solved without their help. Sometimes it seems the problem should be solved by those who created it, sometimes others just solve it anyway. And sometimes the solution is just to scrap the whole thing and start again, knowing what to avoid.

brianman | December 6, 2011


Getting back to the OP...

I think we should just work on restoring sight to the blind. That's clearly the root issue. ;)

Timo | December 6, 2011

@brianman, even that you are joking that's not so odd thing to say. There are already interfaces that connect directly to brain, so making blind to see might not be any more difficult than any other implant in near future. Vision early probably isn't that great, but enough to see a car in intersection.

Now to attach "internet" to brain with all that social networking, enhance our bodies with cybernetic implants and voila, a borg culture has born. Who wants to be part of building first cube?

EdG | December 6, 2011

The choice is made for you.

Robert.Boston | December 7, 2011

As soon as you wire up brains to the internet (and presumably the 4G network or its successor), then it's simplicity itself to have all the cars (also on the 4G network) advise pedestrians, bicyclists and, of course, other cars, of their locations in real-time. Hence, everyone will be able to directly perceive the location of every car near them and avoid accidents.

Now, back to the present. :-)

Timo | December 7, 2011

I was semi-serious with my comment about blind. That technology (brain-computer interface) is advancing quite fast, so fast in fact that it is quite possible that in just few years this "cars need to make sound" -law becomes completely irrelevant for blind, because there are no blind people barring some extreme cases.

This is a one law that is certain to be in "stupid laws of the past" -book somewhere in very near future.

We live quite interesting times. Nobody knows what the world will look like after just couple of decades (immortality gets invented and retirement age is raised to one million years. Suicide rate goes thru the roof).

EdG | December 7, 2011

If life span becomes unlimited, so does potential life earnings, thus damages for serious injury will skyrocket.

When you cross the street, you'd be risking an end to an infinite lifespan, so the risk isn't worth the chance. (Better hear those cars coming!)

Brian H | December 8, 2011

Infinite does not compute. The vanishingly small odds of "struck by lightning" or "hit by meteorite" or "drowned in flash flood" suddenly become near-certainties.

Robert.Boston | December 9, 2011

More to the point, the net present value is finite. Suppose we use a social discount rate of 5%, and each year of life is deemed to be worth $100,000. If the current life expectancy is, say, 80 years for a 30-year-old male (it's actually 77, but this makes the math easier), then the NPV of the loss is $1.826 million. Killing someone with an otherwise infinite lifespan would only have an NPV of $2.0 million ($100,000/5%). And, as Brian H points out, even if death-by-old-age were eliminated, accidental death and suicide would cap the expected lifespan.

The biggest difference comes if you hit "old" people. Today, an 80-year-old male has only another 8 years of expected life, so at $100k/year discounted, that's $646k. With infinite lifespans, the "old" guy is still worth about $2 million.

Anyway, this is waaaay off topic.

olanmills | December 13, 2011

lol I can't believe you got into that

Brian H | December 13, 2011

I think someone some time ago did a "de facto" study of how much society is prepared to spend to prevent each statistically expected death (traffic, disease, etc.). It turns out to be around that figure, $1-2 million.

So that's what you're worth on the hoof, or in the casket.

ncn | December 18, 2011

Actually, Brian, horrifyingly, the amount society is prepared to spend to prevent each statistically expected death *depends on the source of the death*.

Society apparently values the life of people in airplanes way, way higher (will spend vast amounts to stop plane crashes) than the life of people breathing smog (will spend relatively little).

The numbers range from $100,000 to $100 million last I checked. So society does not, in fact, have a consistent view of the value of a human life. It's different depending on the cause of death. Well, nobody ever said humans were rational....

Volker.Berlin | April 12, 2012

Quick poll: How do you like this sound?

"Acoustic Innovation: e-sound by Audi"

Mark E | April 12, 2012

I'd rather have silence. Currently I have a V8 Burble (which I love and will miss). The pedestrians striding out in front of me indicate that even with that noise they don't look, so you may as well have silence.

Crow | April 12, 2012

Uh, no. I would rather run over old ladies in a parking lot than drive a car with that creepy Tron noise.

BYT | April 12, 2012

In the day of iPods/iPhones, people aren't hearing trains blowing their air horns while they stroll the tracks. Lower noise pollution as we lower air pollution with the Model S, I say!

Chris DC | April 12, 2012

What is the 'beep beep' listed after 'horn' on the options page? The dreaded EV alert sound??

BYT | April 12, 2012

Nope, just means it has a standard horn that goes, "beep beep"

pilotSteve | June 14, 2012

Anyone ever heard any synthetic sounds from the Model-S? It seemed then when #1 was delivered there was nothing to hear, but then he was going forward not backing up. Another thing to discover with first test drives! Please share what you observe.

BYT | June 14, 2012

If you hear sounds in your Model S, check under the floor mat for crickets... ;)

Brian H | June 14, 2012

The proposed imposed artificial auto-noise is not just back-up warning, it's forward motion (all all speeds?) too. >:(

He's talking about the pedestrian "warning" noise requirements which are being pushed. >:(

BYT | June 14, 2012

I know, I was being silly. Ultimately however, TM will do what the have to do to make the car street legal in each market. It up to each of us to get pititions out against these, otherwise we don't have much to complain about. I don't see the Model S in California with strange noises emitting from them. | June 18, 2012

IMHO. If noise is required for pedestrian situations I would like the sound of Star Wars Lightsabers. (and the option of silent mode)

Vawlkus | June 19, 2012

I'd rather a pod racer noise over a lightsaber :P

Teoatawki | June 19, 2012

I'm thinking "Jaws" theme music. | June 19, 2012

All good suggestions :o)

Brian H | June 19, 2012

The sound of an oncoming cattle stampede?

Teoatawki | June 20, 2012

Cavalry charge complete with bugle?

Timo | June 20, 2012

When stopped at lights, some low bass noise would be good. Those do not annoy non-blind people like the backup warning sounds but are audible enough that blind ones do hear it. Or you could use something outerworldly like this

EdG | June 20, 2012

Now that "bicyclist Chris Bucchere allegedly ran a red traffic light and plowed into 71-year-old Sutchi Hui" [Foxnews] in San Francisco, killing him, I think a little bicycle tinkle bell might be the modern, above sea level equivalent of the Jaws theme.

steven.maes | June 20, 2012

The sound in psycho ... the sound of the car of porky ...

Scare them good so they don't get under your car ...

Brian H | June 20, 2012

Bass noise is non-directional, unless your ears are as far apart as an elephant's.

Brian H | June 20, 2012

Actually, electronically generated tones or sounds of any/all kinds seem to be very hard to locate. The uniform waveforms don't have enough information (overtones, variation) to distinguish one peak from the next, so the brain can't do its normal wiggle-matching trick to determine which ear hear a particular pulse first. Even cats have a hard time finding a beeping mobile phone! Recorded natural (messy) sounds are best.

Brian H | June 20, 2012

Edit: which ear hear heard

BYT | June 20, 2012

The Love Bug theme music! ;)

Brian H | June 21, 2012

typo: reversed the double r's:


Brian H | June 21, 2012

Verbal message: "Keep your blood off my bumper!"

Brian H | June 21, 2012

Outlaw blind pedestrians, dangerous for EVs, cause serious fender damage.

Brian H | June 21, 2012

Someone needs to search the records, and determine whether blind pedestrians to most damage to bumpers, fenders, hoods, or windshields.

Brian H | June 21, 2012

typo: to do most damage ...

Timo | June 22, 2012

I'd rather let the Darwin do its job. This system makes me want to have flamethrower in front of the car. That should keep the pedestrians out of the way.

ChristianG | June 22, 2012

@Timo posts like that are not tolerated here. We are on the Tesla Forum and therefore expect a certain minimum of behavior here.

A flamethrower uses gas wich is unforgivable. Build in an Taser gun or so ;)

Timo | June 22, 2012

I thought of tasers, but they require wires which are hard to retrieve after a shot for reuse. Mass driver gun has too long range and could hurt innocent bystanders. Maybe we should use sound after all, two directed LRAD devices with beams crossing and sound waves amplifying each other in focal point. Needs pedestrian detection and recognition systems and automatic aiming.

Too bad that current LRAD devices are rather large and bulky and would be really ugly in car like Model S.

BYT | June 22, 2012

DUH GUYS! Tesla Model S, you have two prods protruding from the front to make a Tesla Coil! Come on now! Must I think of everything?

Teoatawki | June 24, 2012

I have it! Let's just put playing cards in the spokes like we did with our bicycles back in the day.