Toyota Prius, Now With Fake Engine Noise!

The ongoing saga of THE SILENT KILLERS continues to unfold. Today we encounter researchers at Stanford University demonstrating their external speaker system for the Toyota Prius, designed to warn the blind, children and other susceptible parties that an unusually silent vehicle is on the prowl.


Congress is currently evaluating a bill that would establish minimum sound levels for all vehicles and potentially make these two Stanford students very, very rich. Or at least the Chinese company that makes a knock-off version for a fifth the price. [NewScientist]



I'm sorry for the blind pedestrians, but I still think this a horrible idea. We live in a world full of noise pollution and electric cars offer a promise of a more peaceful environment for everyone. The idea of adding purposefully annoying sounds to silent things for the blind seems absurd.

Shouldn't this be the other way around? Shouldn't we be creating car detectors for the blind and/or careless rather than artificially creating noise where there needn't be any? Or people detectors for cars?

This is positively primitive. Let's get creative folks. I expect more from you Stanford.