Jaguar has designed a unique Audible Vehicle Alert System (AVAS) for its electric vehicle Jaguar I-PACE. With no engine sound, the system will allow electric car to warn blind, visually impaired and other vulnerable road users it is approaching at low speed. The sound that can be heard at speeds up to 20 km/h and exceeds the 56dB(A) minimum required by forthcoming European legislation – for all new EVs from July 2019, stated the company. Fitted with a state-of-the-art 90kWh lithium-ion battery, two Jaguar-designed motors and a bespoke aluminium structure, the I-PACE is capable of 0-100 km/h in 4.5 s and a range of up to 470 kms (WLTP).
Jaguar’s engineers worked for four years to develop a soundtrack that is audible yet discreet and cannot be heard from inside the vehicle. 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 number of environments, including an anechoic chamber (specialist echo-free room) and various urban scenarios, before settling on the final sound for the I-PACE. 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 sufficient wind and tyre noise for pedestrians to hear the zero-emissions vehicle approaching.
Iain Suffield, Jaguar NVH Technical Specialist has said that the absence of traditional engine noise from electric vehicles creates a problem for vulnerable pedestrians, such as the blind or visually impaired especially 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,” he added,