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how can we make electric vehicles safe for pedestrians or others who cannot hear the engine?

Electric vehicles cannot be heard, and in certain situations, e.g. parking lots, that makes for a dangerous situation. Suppose electric vehicles were equipped with a sound (similar to a horn) which would replicate the sound of hoof-beats Such a sound would catch the attention of pedestrians. It could be manually operated as needed, like blowing a horn, or it could come on automatically when the engine is started and until a certain mph is reached. It need not be audible to the driver or passengers of the vehicle. The out-of-context sound itself would replace volume.

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  • Sep 29 2012: Noise pollution is certainly a consideration. Besides, if we all switch to electric cars the sound of hoof-beats would become commonplace thus counter productive for purposes of attracting a pedestrian's attention. Flashing lights are also pollution and distracting to all concerned. In the case of silent cars having the characteristic of sneaking up on us, are we stuck with people doing what they should do? Being careful?
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    Sep 29 2012: BMW and i suppose other car manufacturers have installed in their latest luxury cars,the M6 range a really good unobtrusive alert system when someone is backing the vehicle and gets too close to an object the drivers seat will shake and without realizing it the driver responds by putting on the brakes fast,or is it when driving too close to another car? it was explained to me by a friend who has one.

    In a way it's quite disturbing.
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    Sep 29 2012: Where I live and drive my car, in the summer it is 110+ degrees. I have my windows rolled up with the air conditioner going, even in parking lots. In the "winter" months here, at night it gets down to the upper 30's. I have my windows rolled up with the heater on. In either case, I can't hear cars approaching me with regular engines now.

    There are plenty of licensed DEAF drivers who can still pay enough attention to LOOK for obstacles. There are no licensed BLIND drivers that I am aware of.
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    Sep 29 2012: What's wrong with pedestrians and drivers being aware of the need to be careful. I enjoy the silence of golf carts. Noise is pollution too.
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    Sep 29 2012: I think the last one is the better idea becouse will make also a sound and a feel sensation and maybe is pleasant in the summer heat or warm in winters.
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    Sep 29 2012: Hm, is somehow a hard question but first thing I think about is a small automatic electrical shock like those usedfor self defense but of a very small intensity and longer range like a electrical discharge to ground where the element of discharging is the person near the car. Is not a very pleasant way to attract atention but is usefu. Another idea is to use a standard communication with some devices we have like phones or smart phones and this can be a solution but not for those who do not have such devices. Another idea could be air fast flows in every direction of the car all applied when the sensors of the car sense an object around.