The silent EV Jaguar I-PACE will soon purr at pedestrians as it approaches
With no engine sound, the electric Jaguar I-PACE required a new way to warn pedestrians, especially the visually impaired and other vulnerable road users, it was approaching at low speed.
Jaguar has designed a unique Audible Vehicle Alert System (AVAS) for its first EV that meets and exceeds all forthcoming global legislation. Its engineers have developed a sound that can be heard at a speed of up to 20 km/h and exceeds the 56dB (A) minimum required by forthcoming European legislation — the strictest in the world — for all new EVs from July 2019.
The I-PACE’s sound was tested by members of Guide Dogs for the Blind, the UK’s The Jaguar I-PACE
leading charity for people affected by sight loss, as part of the testing undertaken by Jaguar. It also marks the start of an ongoing relationship between the two organisations.
Iain Suffield, Jaguar NVH Technical Specialist, said: “The absence of traditional engine noise from electric vehicles creates a problem for vulnerable pedestrians, such as the 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. Our potentially life-saving technology cannot be switched off .” 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.
With the new system, 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.