Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Electric vehicles need to be noisier

On July 1st 2019, in Europe, all electric new vehicles sold will be required to have an AVAS (Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System). These new rules are in response to the increasing number of accidents involving pedestrians and electric vehicles (EV's). Electric vehicles are twice as like to have an accident involving a pedestrian than other cars and accidents with EVs increased by 54% between 2012 and 2013.

The charity Guide Dogs for the Blind have been campaigning for AVAS for years, as visually impaired people are among those most at risk from accidents with electric vehicles, along with the elderly and the young.

The AVAS must abide by certain requirements, when the car speeds up, the volume of the car noise must increase, so that pedestrians are able to make a judgement about the speed of the car from the noise. There is also a maximum overall volume to prevent an increase to noise pollution. Some electric vehicles already have an optional AVAS included, for example the BMW i3 and the Nissan Leaf.

However some consider the AVAS system far too simplistic; the eVADER project is a far more sophisticated system that uses cameras to detect nearby pedestrians and targets the sound towards them. It uses microphones mounted on the cars body to assess the ambient sound level and adjusts the volume of the sound accordingly. It also records the responses of the driver to pedestrians, and if they do not react to the pedestrians it sounds an internal alarm.

It is the view of many that eventually the more complex systems will be commonplace and these new rules are not strict enough, for example the AVAS is allowed to have a pause option for drivers, although the system defaults to on and drivers must turn it on when near pedestrians. 

This post was compiled on behalf of Weald Technology by Sophie Lane, August 2016
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For more information about Weald Technology see www.weald-tech.co.uk
Follow our world-record challenging electric motorcycle project at www.fast-charge.org
To sign up for the Fast Charge School Zone visit www.fast-charge.org/school-zone.php
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Alternative Engine technologies on trial

Many companies are investing a lot of money into alternative fuels for engines used in commercial vehicles. Consumers are becoming more and more interested in environmentally friendly the products they buy are, and as petrol prices climb it is in many business’s interests to explore other fuel options. Sainsbury’s have just become the first company to use a delivery lorry cooled by a liquid nitrogen engine.

Normally food delivery vehicles have two diesel engines, one to power the lorry itself, and one to power the refrigerators. Replacing the second engine with a liquid nitrogen one is an exciting way to cut down on emissions from refrigeration. The engine is powered by the fast expansion of liquid nitrogen, and is expected to cut down on 1.6 tonnes of CO2 during its 3 month trial.

There is only one lorry currently, operating in the London area, but if this is a success this could be something we see become a lot more common on our roads.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the H2ME (Hydrogen Mobility Europe) project is set to hugely increase the number of hydrogen powered vehicles. The project was first unveiled in September 2015, and it will involve the deployment of 1230 fuel cell vehicles, with 20 extra hydrogen refuelling stations. This is a huge project, costing €100 million and involving 37 partners.

This is a summary of two articles from The Engineer read them both in full here:


This post was compiled on behalf of Weald Technology by Sophie Lane, August 2016
........................................................................................................................
For more information about Weald Technology see www.weald-tech.co.uk
Follow our world-record challenging electric motorcycle project at www.fast-charge.org
To sign up for the Fast Charge School Zone visit www.fast-charge.org/school-zone.php
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