Car horn that toots with­out mak­ing a din

Sunday Express - - BREEDING CRUELTY - By Jon Coates

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.”

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