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In a move to maker pedestrians safer, NHTSA finally intends to release its rules governing the sound from EVs and hybrids in November. They don't go into effect until 2018, though.

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The discussion over whether electric vehicles should come with warning sounds has been going on for what feels like forever - seriously, it's been so long we've forgotten amazing little tidbits like this - but that doesn't mean the whole thing is solved. While the US has required EVs to emit a generated noise at low speeds since 2011, Europe only been discussing a similar system, the "Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems" (AVAS) all these years. This week, the European Parliament made a decision.

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Some automakers are saying that adding a fake engine noise – or some other warning sound – to plug-in vehicles would subtract that "cha-ching" sound from auto dealers cash registers. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and some automakers outside the group say a mandate for artificial noise makers on electric cars could cause fewer people to buy them, Automotive News says.

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It's been a long time coming – remember the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010? – but the proposed rules for the noises that electric or hybrid vehicles have to make at low speeds have been released (get them here in PDF). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the proposed rules today in response to some requests for the noises to be generated to alert vision-impaired pedestrians.

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US regulators continue to push for a mandate that makers of hybrids and electric-drive vehicles install a pedestrian-warning system on their vehicles to alert blind pedestrians, the Daily Caller reports.

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Audi knows sound, and it wants its upcoming plug-in cars to have as distinctive a grumble as possible, just like its fossil-fuel-burning brethren. That's why Audi engineers are working on "new sound signatures" for future e-tron models. You can tell how seriously Audi is taking this by the way it references the sounds a car makes to music and "emotional sound structures" in the press release below.

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Audi knows from sound, and it wants its upcoming plug-in cars to have as distinctive a grumble as possible, just like its fossil-fuel-burning brethren. That's why Audi engineers are working on "new sound signatures" for future e-tron models. You can tell how seriously Audi is taking this by the way it references the sounds a car makes to music and "emotional sound structures" in the press release below.

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Steve Mahan was test-driving Google's driverless car

A man gets behind the wheel of his Toyota Prius, drives to a local Taco Bell and orders lunch it the drive-thru lane. What's so unusual about that scenario?

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Ford recently invited 30 visually-impaired individuals to its Merkenic Development Center test track in Cologne, Germany to put them behind the wheel for a few high-speed exercises. The program was designed to give the disabled individuals a better understanding of how vehicles behave in traffic and how they react to driver input at speed.

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Anyone who has ever perused the Guinness Book of World Records knows that there is an entry for just about anything imaginable and plenty more things you just haven't yet wrapped your head around. There is apparently even a land speed record for bank managers. Well, blind bank managers, anyway. Mike Newman failed yesterday to become the first blind person to crest the 200 miles-per-hour barrier when his (unnamed) Nissan failed to accelerate beyond 174 mph. Newman's failed attempt on the UK's Pen

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Hybrid and fully electric vehicles have come under fire as of late due to the quietness at which they operate. While this is seemingly a good thing for passengers of the vehicle, there are legitimate concerns that blind people will not be able to detect the rapidly approaching vehicle if it is not making any sound. Along with blind pedestrians, safety advocates are concerned that children and cyclists will be at risk from silent vehicles.

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Click above for more pictures of the Vibering concept

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You're probably familiar with the recent problems with quiet and silent vehicles and people with less-than-perfect sight. The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has been on the case for a while, but there is one angle of their advocacy I didn't know about until Harper's printed the lyrics. The lyrics to what, you might ask? Well, the lyrics to a reworked version of the 1943 song Surry With the Fringe on Top (from Oklahoma!) and used by the NFB's Committee on Automobile and Pedestrian Safety.

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There has been quite a hub-bub about the dangers of hybrids because they are more quiet than internal combustion motivated vehicles. The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) naturally takes these matters quite seriously and in the Spring of 2007 approached SAE International about the problem. Minds can now be put to rest because, according to a press release issued by the SAE, decisive action has been taken.

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A blind man was recently caught by a speed camera doing 98 mph on public roads in Spain. The man had lost his sight in a car accident in 1996, and, as he explained to the court, wanted to drive just one more time. So, just like the last time we heard about a sightless driver, the man had his wife sit shotgun and dole out verbal directions on which way to turn the wheel.

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