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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Adding Noise

I remember years ago watching Gattaca and thinking their electric cars made silly noises, because I'd heard electric cars and they weren't that loud, but that the audience wouldn't believe a quiet car, so they added extra sound.

No, turns out Gattaca probably had it right. Car makers are getting cowed into adding noise to electric and hybrid vehicles for the safety of pedestrians. (Yeah, you know, the pedestrians with their iPod earbuds in, crossing diagonally across the street in front of me at Stanford, paying no mind to the fact that the road is actually used by cars as well. But I digress...)

For the record, my hybrid does make noise, it's just not a standard engine noise when it's on electric. It makes a high pitched whine that goes up in pitch with the speed. Folks are going to have to learn to listen for different noises, because even normal combustion engine vehicles have gotten much quieter over the years. Listening to my dad's van or the Mustang down the street will tell you that.

Additionally, drivers and pedestrians need to pay attention to one another, not go merrily on their way as if they own the street, because seriously, neither one does. (And not you either, you crazy bicyclists!)


  • Early IP telephones were annoying because when both parties were silent there was real almost absolute silence and that led people to believe the "line" had been dropped. Noise was added artificially and people found it much more comforting.

    By Blogger mice, at 1:25 AM  

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