Car horn that toots without making a din
IN THE world of modern motoring the car horn will be… silenced.
Ford wants to replace the angry blare from cars with a new system that beams alerts into surrounding vehicles.
Rather than making a “polluting” noise that can be heard by everyone, their “extended range horn” will trigger an urgent beep.
The system, revealed in a recently published patent application, can also be used to alert pedestrians by sending an alarm to their mobile phones or smart watches.
“While sometimes effective, a horn beep is not always the best way to get the attention of another driver or a pedestrian,” said Ford in the patent.
“A horn beep in a relatively quiet neighbourhood can be seen as obtrusive or offensive, especially since it can be heard by those other intended recipient.
“In louder areas, such as a downtown urban area, a horn beep may be ineffective.
“The horn beep may not be heard by the intended recipient if, for example, the intended recipient is listening to loud music, wearing headphones, on a phone call, or not paying attention.”
The system, being developed at Ford’s US technology centre in Dearborn, Michigan, would also include a touch screen to allow motorists to select specific vehicles or pedestrians to receive an alert.
If the horn is pressed without selecting a recipient, it would send a warning signal into all nearby cars.
Ford claims the system could be used instead of or in than the addition to a standard audible horn beep. It could also be programmed to not generate a noise at antisocial times of the day or in certain locations, like residential areas.
A spokesman for Ford said: “We submit patents on innovative ideas as a normal course of business.”
RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: “Despite significant advances in vehicle technology the humble horn has changed very little in 130 years, short of being wired to the battery.
“This has the potential to change how drivers get the attention of other road users and reduce the annoyance of horns in urban areas andduring quieter hours of darkness. It could also have valuable road safety benefits.”