Latest news; an article on the project (External link) appeared on the European Commission Horizons 2020 site.
eVADER is a European project, funded through the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union, to address the road safety concerns that pedestrians, in particular the visually impaired ones, will have to face with the future marketing of electrical vehicles in Europe. More concretely, the project will identify the standards data future AVAS (Acoustic Vehicle Alert System) should be based on.
The project consortium comprises of 11 partners in 7 EU member states: Spain, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Netherlands, France and the UK. It consists of car manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, universities, testing facilities and end users. EBU is providing its expertise in the field of visual impairment and road safety while helping partners identify visually impaired testers all along the project duration.
Recent studies suggest that vehicles, driven in electric mode, either hybrid or pure electric vehicles, are considerably quiet and, thus, that they constitute a safety hazard for pedestrians and bicyclists in traffic. It is claimed that such vehicles are not acoustically perceived due to the power unit being exchanged from a combustion engine to electric motors; something that essentially cuts away all power unit noise and leaves tyre/road noise, the latter of which is the same as for similar-sized vehicles with combustion engines. Actions have been taken by the US and Japanese governments as well as within international bodies such as UN/ECE and ISO, with the expected outcome that "minimum noise" of vehicles shall be measured with a standard method and legal limit values for such "minimum noise" shall be established.
Recent findings reported in NHTSA Technical Report (September 2009) suggest that pedestrian and cyclist crashes involving both electric vehicle (EV) and Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) driven vehicles commonly occurred on roadways, in zones with low speed , with higher incidence rates for EV and Hybrid EV (HEV) or EV when compared with internal combustion driven vehicles (ICE). The study showed that for vehicles moving slowly or stopping, backing up or entering or leaving a parking place the HEV was about two times more likely to be involved in a pedestrian accident than ICE vehicles. Similar trend was also found for cyclists, particularly at intersections. Accordingly, special concern is given to noise at speeds below 20 km/h for which the problem is expected be the worst and where not enough data is available.
eVADER will investigate the interior and exterior sound scape of electric vehicle for safe operation, considering driver's feedback, feasible pedestrian reactions, driver and pedestrian warning systems and pedestrian safety. The project will also analyse innovative methods to improve the acoustic detectatibility of electric vehicles in urban scenarios. The project will define solutions to warn vulnerable users of a nearby moving vehicle while providing means for heightening the awareness of drivers in critical situations.
Among others, some of the most important areas covered by eVADER will be:
- Optimum warning signals definition to induce correct driver reaction for safe operation
- Adaptation of the warning signals to the real in-service vibro-acoustic environment
- Optimum warning signals definition for pedestrians in close-to-accident situations
- Adaptation of the warning signals to real urban and exterior noise
- Integration of the generation of acoustic warning signals with in-vehicle intelligent systems data such as external microphones, vehicle speed (CAN) or ADAS (Advance Driver Assistance) systems.
- Use of in-vehicle complementary information to improve directivity, timing, intensity, modulation and frequency characteristics of the warning signal, depending on real close-to accident scenario
- Optimum warning signals maintaining the quietness of residents
- Visit the eVADER official website (External link)
- A speech by Jill Allen-King explaining the dangers of silent cars from the situation of a blind pedestrian
- The PDF presentation on EBU's work on silent vehicles and VI pedestrians.
- The survey report on visually impaired persons' mobility strategy in an urban environment is available in English in DOC and PDF formats and in Italian in DOC format.
- The report on the test on detectablity is now available in PDF format (Deliverable 2.2.).
- The report on the test on sound meaning is now available in PDF format (Deliverable 2.3.).
- The complementary report on the three perceptual tests, including detectability and sound meaning, is also available in PDF format (Deliverable 2.5.).