Electric cars get sound advice

I've learned to be careful in parking lots. When my Prius is running on battery power, the car hardly makes any sound at all. I've seen pedestrians wander -- or worse, dart -- out in front of me because they had no idea I was there. Yikes.

I've also heard that people who drive the snazzy Tesla electric sports car kind of miss the VROOM that fast acceleration in some other high-performance vehicle would produce. Tesla was considering adding a recoding.

Now, researchers are trying to figure out what sound would best best for electric cars.

Mother Nature Network reports that British researchers who have spent years trying to figure out how to make cars quieter are now, uh, going in reverse.

"We want...to investigate sounds that are going to be safe, have minimal effect on the environment and are going to give some creativity to the manufacturers," one of them said.

They have adapted an electric delivery truck at Warwick University make different noises on different days. They then canvass opinion from students.

The challenge is to get a sound -- or a series of sounds -- that conveys to pedestrians whether the car is speeding up, slowing down, idling...whatever.
 

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