Electric cars are quiet. That’s a potential problem for pedestrians and cyclists. The LATimes:
Nissan sound engineers have announced that the Leaf electric car set for release next year will emit a “beautiful and futuristic” noise similar to the sound of flying cars — or “spinners” — that buzz around 2019 Los Angeles in Ridley Scott’s dystopian thriller based on a Philip K. Dick science fiction novel.
“We decided that if we’re going to do this, if we have to make sound, then we’re going to make it beautiful and futuristic,” Toshiyuki Tabata, Nissan’s noise and vibration expert, told Bloomberg. “We wanted something a bit different, something closer to the world of art.”
Some reports suggest that we’ll download a sound for our cars the way we do ring tones.
In other future-related transportation news, Mountain View, CA (home to Google and NASA Ames Research Center) is considering a Personal Rapid Transit system. One significant limitation:
With four seconds between each vehicle, one Ultra guideway can transport 3,456 people per hour with four passengers in each vehicle. A bottleneck to consider is the number of berths (parking spots) at a station because each berth can only move 576 people per hour.
The system costs roughly $7 million to $15 million per mile to build, and the six-foot-wide cement paths can be constructed at a speed of about one mile per month by a four-person crew.