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Jaguar I-Pace EV to feature artificial sound for safety

An artificial sound will be emitted from the Jaguar I-Pace to protect vulnerable road users, like the visually impaired.
Spencer Leech
Contributing Journalist
GoAutoMedia

12 Oct 2018 • 3 min read

To compensate for the lack of engine sound from the all-electric I-Pace medium SUV, Jaguar has developed a new system to warn vulnerable road users that the vehicle is approaching.

The Audible Vehicle Alert System, or AVAS, emits a sound that can be heard at speeds up to 20km/h, and meets the legislation which will soon be rolled out across the globe.

In Europe, the legislation will require at least 56dB from all new EVs from July next year, which the AVAS system exceeds.

The I-Pace AVAS features a speaker behind the front grille, which Jaguar says can be heard in every direction and cannot be disengaged. The I-Pace AVAS features a speaker behind the front grille, which Jaguar says can be heard in every direction and cannot be disengaged.

The I-Pace AVAS features a speaker behind the front grille, which Jaguar says can be heard in every direction and cannot be disengaged, with the sound increasing in pitch and volume in line with the speed of the vehicle.

A different sound is also added for when the car is in reverse, giving visually impaired pedestrians a better understanding of the environment.

Over the years, pedestrians and road users have learned to recognise incoming vehicles by engine sound, and with electric vehicles being significantly quieter, it could cause problems, particularly for the visually impaired.

Jaguar tested the I-Pace sound with members of Guide Dogs for the Blind, working to create a sound that is audible yet discreet, and cannot be heard from the inside of the vehicle.

Engineers initially used sci-fi-esque noises, but that idea was shelved as pedestrians naturally reacted to the sound by looking up to the sky.

The lack of engine noise is particularly important at low speeds, where tyre sound is low, according to Jaguar NVH technical specialist Iain Suffield.

"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," he said.

"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."

As previously reported, the I-Pace is the first all-electric vehicle developed by Jaguar, featuring a 90kWh lithium-ion battery and two motors.

The medium SUV is capable of sprinting from 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds, and has a range of up to 470 kilometres.

When it arrives in Australia later this month, the I-Pace will be priced from $119,000 plus on-road costs in entry-level S guise, up to $159,700 for the First Edition.

Should this type of technology be mandatory for electric vehicles in Australia? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.

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