The technology Jaguar has used on the I-Pace to warn other road users of its presence is not as bad as it reads in the headline. It is actually a specifically developed audible signal that fits in all forthcoming global automotive legislation.
With no engine sound courtesy of its all-electric drivetrain, the Jaguar I-Pace required a new way to warn blind, visually impaired, and other vulnerable road users of its approach. The company understands then, that sneaking up on someone is not a very good habit. To that end, it came up with a new piece of clever tech.
Jaguar has designed a unique Audible Vehicle Alert System (AVAS) for its first EV. AVAS meets and exceeds all forthcoming global legislation. The Jaguar I-Pace produces a sound that can be heard at speeds up to 20kph and exceeds the 56dB (A) minimum threshold specified by the forthcoming Euro legislation for all EVs effective from July 2019. The European legislation is the strictest in the world.
The I-Pace's sound was tested by members of the Guide Dogs for the Blind charity, UK's leading initiative for people affected by sight loss, as part of the testing performed by Jaguar. This test also marks the beginning of a relationship between the automaker and the charity.
Ian Suffield, Jaguar NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) Technical Specialist elaborated on the AVAS technology, saying: “The absence of traditional engine noise from electric vehicles creates a problem for vulnerable pedestrians, such as the blind or 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.”
Jaguar engineers worked for four years to come up with a soundtrack that is audible yet unintrusive and cannot be heard from inside the car. The design engineers tested the sound in a variety of environments, including an anechoic chamber (echo-free chamber). The sound was also tested in various urban scenarios for the best effect. The final audio is emitted from a speaker located behind the front grille and can be heard in every direction. It cannot be disengaged.
The system increases the pitch and volume of the sound in line with the speed of the vehicle. Additionally, if the I-Pace is reversing, the sound is accompanied by an additional tone that signals the change in direction. AVAS does not need to function at high speeds as there is sufficient wind and tyre noise for pedestrians to hear the EV approach.