A life-saving device that has been designed to help protect pedestrians and other vulnerable road users from ‘silent killer’ electric and quiet vehicles is being launched by Brigade Electronics.
According to Brigade Electronics, the Quiet Vehicle Sounder is probably the biggest breakthrough in road safety since Brigade introduced the reversing alarm to the UK back in 1976.
The brainchild of safety pioneer Chris Hanson-Abbott OBE, Brigade’s Chairman, it is designed to counteract the growing menace of quiet vehicles on our roads.
Blind and partially-sighted people are particularly at risk from electric vehicles which are virtually silent at speeds of less than 20mph.
Children too, who are taught in school to “Stop, Look and Listen” before crossing the road, are put in greater danger.
Brigade’s Quiet Vehicle Sounder is designed to save lives by producing a replacement sound when it is fitted to a quiet vehicle that is distinctive and can be heard clearly in the danger zone but less so elsewhere.
The sound is highly directional, enabling a pedestrian to tell where the vehicle is, and it varies in pitch and tone as the vehicle speeds up or slows down.
Brigade experimented with different sounds for nine years before deciding what was the best replacement for a combustion engine sound. It selected a blend of tones and frequencies generated by bbs-tek® White Sound® technology.
Indeed, the resulting Quiet Vehicle Sounder has already received recognition in both the UK and Europe by winning Innovation of the Year in the annual Noise Abatement Society’s John Connell Awards, an Innovation Award in the SME category from CLEPA, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers, and an Environmental Award from the Dutch Congress for Sound, Vibrations & Air Quality.
Renowned for continuously pushing the boundaries, Brigade is bringing its Quiet Vehicle Sounder to market at a time when the UK is on the cusp of one of the biggest revolutions the automotive marketplace has seen for many years.
While there are around 200,000 electric vehicles on the road now, by 2030 the National Grid estimates that there will be between 2.7 million and 10.6 million. A ban on sales of new diesel and petrol cars is due to come in by 2040 in the UK.
Delivery companies too are switching to zero emission vehicles for city centre last mile deliveries, ahead of the creation of more ‘clean air’ zones in cities to combat air pollution.
New legislation which comes into force in July 2019 will require the mandatory fitment of Acoustic vehicle alerting systems (AVAS), for all new quiet (electric, hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell) vehicle models registered after 1st September 2019 and all new vehicle registrations after 1st September 2021.
Chris Hanson-Abbott OBE, Chairman, Brigade Electronics said: “Silent vehicles on our roads are dangerous – it’s as simple as that. The evidence is stark that people are put at risk if vehicles move without making a sound.
“Brigade identified the risk of electric vehicles some years ago and set out to find a solution. That’s why we are delighted to bring the Quiet Vehicle Sounder to market.
“It is a true game changer and one which will save lives and spare people from being injured in needless accidents.”
The dangers to vulnerable road users are clear. A study by Guide Dogs for the Blind Association shows that pedestrians are 40% more likely to be hit by an electric vehicle than a diesel or petrol one.
The Quiet Vehicle Sounder is available worldwide and can be retrofitted to most commercial vehicles. Working from a 12V or 24V power source, it will not drain power from a hybrid/electric vehicle’s battery.
Equally suitable for vans, buses, HGVs, coaches, minibuses and cars, it is compatible with tachographs and CAM switches.