Toyota to release alarm to alert pedestrians and others audibly to the presence of its quiet Prius hybrid car in Japan
Toyota today announced that in line with its efforts to ensure an ever-safer traffic environment, it will begin sales on August 30 of an onboard device designed to alert pedestrians and others audibly to the presence of its quiet Prius hybrid car in Japan. Toyota is the world’s first automaker to launch an accessory to alert pedestrians of approaching vehicles. The onboard device automatically emits a synthesized sound of an electric motor when the Prius is operating as an electric vehicle at speeds up to approximately 25 km/h. The sound—aimed to alert but not annoy—rises and falls in pitch relative to the vehicle’s speed, thus helping indicate the vehicle’s proximity and movement.
The device will be available in Japan through authorized Toyota dealers and Toyota genuine parts & accessories distributors for retrofitting on the third-generation Prius gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle. The alarm system will cost a total of some 20,000 yen ($237), including the installation cost. Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV electric car will also come equipped with an alarm system for pedestrians from this autumn, as well as Nissan Motor’s new Fuga hybrid model and Leaf electric vehicle — both of which are scheduled to hit the market later this year.