The importance of researching all users in design

CBC radio this morning reported that groups representing the blind have asked automakers to make hybrid cars louder. Most hybrids shut off automatically at stops and some drive on their electric motors only until 5~10 mph, essentially making no noise. This is great for drivers and those annoyed by noise-pollution, but for a blind person navigating busy city streets it can be the equivalent of taking another sense away from them.

A blind person can tell when it safe to cross a street by listening to traffic. They can also hear when traffic is stoped at a light, allowing them to cross. These abilities are crippled by hybrids making nearly no noise.

The report did not give any ideas about how to keep the cars quiet, but alert blind pedestrians to the vehicles. Does a clever designer have any ideas?

Haha interesting, but I don’t think Toyota is going to care about the minority. I don’t think any major company will.

I do find modern cars way too quiet. The other day I test drove the new BMW 530i with SMG, and I the road noise was louder than the engine, so I couldn’t tell when to shift.

Back to the topic, I don’t think noise level on cars should affect the blinds from crossing the road. Nobody should cross the road unless it’s green man, and in some cities, the traffic light for pedestrials are aided with beeps with varing frequency to tell the blinds when to walk quicker.


I, however, do find a need for multi-level honks. People just abuse it over the slightest things and I find it more annoying than most things on the road. I hate it, therefore I seldom use my honk. USually in times of emergency, I spend my concentration steering or braking my car instead of honking. I honk only when the car in front of me isn’t moving when it should… then I will just tap the honk lightly.

Maybe the honk button should have the multi-level sensor like video game controllers. Shouldn’t be hard to make.

A SOUND TRACK OF SAY A VIPER PIPED OUT OF THE CAR MAY BE AN INTERESTING JUXTAPOSITION

IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT EUROPEAN MANUFACTURES DO WITH VEHICAL DESIGNS NOW THAT THERE ARE MANDITORY PADESTRIAN SAFTY STANDARDS. SO ITS INTERESTING HOW A MINUTE ISSUE CAN CHANGE THE DIRECTION OF DESIGN.

NOT THAT FATALLY INJURED PEDESTRIANS ARE A MINUTE ISSUE, THEY JUST NEED TO WATCH WHERE THERE GOING.

Artimus, please learn to use this key properly.

I agree with molested_cow. The issue isn’t that we need to make cars louder, it’s that we need to outfit the traffic lights with those beeping alerts you hear in large cities. The solution to this problem isn’t to regress to loud cars, but to find a new technology that replaces them.

Kind of an insulting comment if you ask me.

The interesting thing about safety and laws attached to safety is how a valid good idea wears off over time. The post affect often times becomes leftover waste.

Back around 1985-86 the center mounted third brake light was introduced for “safety”

If you look at the accident statistics for rear ending accidents. there was a sharp drop in rear ending. Gradually after about 18 Months the rear ending incidents were back to the same level as before the third brake light law.

In the newspaper recently I read about safety related to Daytime Running Lights. The author noted several accidents where the driver crashed because of too many blinding lights at the intersection. There is a point at which too much visual input is NOT good. where is that point?

More importantly, how much money is needed to undo BS laws on paper?

If you want outdated safety laws, think of that one about how we all need a guy to run with a lantern 100 yards in front of our car to alert the horse riders we are coming. Now that’s outdated.

I hope they don’t remove third brake lights. I think they are a big aid at night. However, along the same lines Mercedes and other Euro makes are trying to introduce third brake lights that blink during hard stops. I’ve seen a few cars retro-fitted with this feature. I always delay my braking, because for half a second I think the person is just riding their brakes. Now that is bad design!

Interesting, a blinking third light. I suppose it would be a good thing for panic braking.

As long as it only actuated during a true panic stop, I bet it would work better at preventing a rear end accident.

My old grey market BMW 79 323i could have used a third light. In fact the vehical had such poor lighting it was not uncommon to get pulled over for just that reason (even though the bulbs were new and on). The american market 320 version of that car actually had a completely different vehical lighting system. While driving that car I actually would tap my foot if I saw a car coming up fast in my rear view.

I can see it now, rush hour traffic and a sea of blinking red led taillights on a crawling 2mph freeway. Driving can be fatigueing enough with just regular taillights. By adding more light I would go into a seizure.

mr-914 we shoud get a pattent for the “pre-panic” -panic stop light. We could get rich on the invention and have enough money to buy a bounty of non panic equiped vintage cars.

Obviously safety is important, it is interesting to see how needs change over time.

I saw a vintage Healey Silverstone racing one time and noticed that it actually stored the spare tire so that it could be used instead of a rear bumper. I bet it worked quite well in its day.

I read that harley motorcycles statistically have less accidents than “quiet” motorcycles just because the noise they make demands so much attention.

Functional noise.

However, along the same lines Mercedes and other Euro makes are trying to introduce third brake lights that blink during hard stops.

BMW Motorcycles have had that feature for years. It makes a bit more sense on a motorcycle due to its small size. When the new 7 series came out a few years ago, it had (and still may) progressive brake lights. A series of LEDs on the trunk lid illuminated at 3 different stages of braking. The brightest at the hardest level obviously.

You could activate a strobe on all brake lights when both the brake pedal is depressed and when an accelerometer reads >0.4G (or some appropriately tested deceleration).

Sorry, Guest… now that’s the idea is public, no patent office will let approve your application.

And for the blind you could have electronically tagged canes for the blind. It could set off red lights in all directions and make quieter vehicles emit a special rumbling sound.

That way, in a hybrid future, there would be peace and quiet most of the time and improved safety for the few times that a blind person has to cross the road.

Hey, you could call it the Enlighten Saber…

:)ensen.

PurplePeople: I guess that people sign in as “guest” on Core so that they can still plead no public disclosure with regards to patentable ideas!

Jees!!! Just when I think that blinking lights will go away, I run into an actual schematic diagram for building one myself.

While I am all for safety, the best way to incorporate long term solutions for safety may not be best by using blinking lights.

this site does everything except put the soldering iron in your hand.