Within the next two years, the US and Europe will require all new electric and hybrid vehicles to make noise at low speeds so pedestrians hear them coming.
But automakers and regulators are still not settled on what that noise should sound like.
The idea was developed in cooperation with digital innovation firm The Electric Factory, a professional sound designer, and a “smart cities expert.” The group doesn’t go into too much detail on the website for the project, which is called Hy (an abbreviation of “harmony”), but a press release accompanying the announcement explains that they chose certain bandwidth and frequency ranges that are supposed to generate “improvements in growth, biomass, stomata (which favors water absorption and light use), and favoring cell division, fluids in cell walls, and protective enzymes.”
It’s a kooky idea, especially when viewed through the Hy Project’s promotional video, which could nearly be mistaken for parody.
But as other automakers hesitate to share their low-speed noise plans, or in some cases even lobby for delays in the regulations, Ayax president Alejandro Curcio sees an opportunity for both his company and his country.
As the first company in Latin America to assemble Toyota’s Hilux pickup truck in the 20th century, Curcio says the Japanese automaker (along with other companies) has continued to use Uruguay as a test bed for new ideas.