by Mike Masnick
Tue, Sep 22nd 2009 5:55am
Ever wonder why futuristic vehicles in science fiction movies have loud whirring/buzzing noises? Perhaps it's because of people worried about pedestrians getting hit by silent vehicles. You may recall that there has been some effort underway to push the makers of hybrid or electric vehicles to add engine noises to their cars, because the electric engines are "too quiet" and unsuspecting pedestrians who fail to look both ways are getting hit. Or so we're told. I've yet to see much actual evidence of the rash of pedestrians-hit-by-Priuses, but the story has gained some legs. In fact, some politicians are even pushing for government mandates to require such cars to be noisier. In an effort to live up to any such requirements, while still making its all electric vehicle still feel futuristic, apparently Nissan is looking to add those Blade Runner-style vehicle noises to the upcoming Nissan Leaf. There's no functional reason for it, other than that they want to make the car noisier, and fake engine noises didn't seem as fun (or, one would imagine, marketable).
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