Like all electric models, the electric Jaguar I-PACE is a silent vehicle. This called for the development of a new technology that could be used to warn other road users of the imminent approach of the I-Pace, especially in the case of highly vulnerable people like the elderly, children and those who are visually impaired.
Jaguar has now developed a unique Audible Vehicle Alert System (AVAS) for the I-Pace that not only meets but also exceeds all anticipated global legislation. The sound emitted by using the AVAS can be heard at speeds up to 20km/h and exceeds the minimum level of 56dB(A) that is required by forthcoming European legislation, which is considered to be the strictest in the world for all new EVs. This legislation is expected to come into effect from July 2019.
The sound of the I-PACE was tested by members of Guide Dogs for the Blind, which is the leading charity in the UK for people who experience loss of sight, as part of Jaguar’s testing process. This testing process also marked the beginning of an on-going relationship between the two organizations.
Commenting on the new technology, Iain Suffield, Jaguar NVH Technical Specialist, said electric vehicles lack the engine noise of conventional vehicles and this can pose a serious hazard to vulnerable pedestrians, like those who are blind or visually impaired. This particularly needs to be taken into account when vehicles are traveling at low speeds in town centers and car parks. He said that Jaguar developed the Audible Vehicle Alert System for the I-PACE with the goal of ensuring the safety of all road users. It is a technology that is potentially life-saving technology and cannot be switched off by the motorist.
Over a period of four years, Jaguar’s engineering team worked tirelessly to come up a soundtrack that is audible yet discreet and is not audible from inside the vehicle. Initially, they developed a noise inspired by the sound of sci-fi spacecraft but they then had to drop that sound after it spired other road users to look up at the sky rather than focus on the vehicles on the road.
Engineers tested sounds in a wide range of environments, which included an anechoic chamber (specialist echo-free room) and several urban scenarios, before they finally settled on the sound for the I-PACE. The sound is emitted from a speaker which is located behind the front grille, can be heard in every direction and cannot be disengaged.
In tandem with the speed of the vehicle, the alert increases in pitch and volume. When the vehicles is in reverse, the sound is accompanied by an additional tone that points to the change in direction. AVAS is not required at higher speeds as in that case, there is adequate wind and tire noise for pedestrians to hear the zero-emissions vehicle approaching.
John Welsman, Policy Business Partner (Travel & Mobility), Guide Dogs for the Blind, said: “Guide Dogs campaigned hard to make it compulsory for quiet vehicles to have sound generating systems built in and turned on, including when the vehicle is stationary at a pedestrian crossing. We applaud Jaguar for being the first to launch an EV which meets standards before the new legislation even comes in and look forward to working with the company more in the future.”
Jaguar had launched its I-PACE, which is billed as Jaguar’s first all-electric vehicle, earlier in 2018 to deliver sustainable sports car performance, next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) technology and five-seat SUV practicality.
The I-Pace comes with a 90kWh lithium-ion battery, two Jaguar-designed motors and a bespoke aluminium structure. It can go from 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds (0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds) and has a range of up to 470km (WLTP).
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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