A ring tone for your car

Electric cars are quiet. Therefore, no one can hear them coming. Therefore, they are hazardous. So engineers are working to develop artificial sounds for them. Under consideration are chimes, melodies, and a whirring sound.

Once all cars are electric, can you imagine the sounds of a busy street? What if the sound is chimes? It would be Edgar Allen Poe all over again: “Oh, the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells.” And then what if all the drivers’ cell phones start ringing?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://necessaryroughness.org Dan at Necessary Roughness

    If I had one of those I would assign the Windows startup sound for the ignition. It would remind me to always watch out for crashes. :)

  • http://necessaryroughness.org Dan at Necessary Roughness

    If I had one of those I would assign the Windows startup sound for the ignition. It would remind me to always watch out for crashes. :)

  • http://www.hempelstudios.blogspot.com Sarah in Exile

    Oh this sounds like the worst idea :( One of the worst things about living post industrial revolution is the sound of the engine. Sundays are ruined by the humming of lawn mowers and leaf blowers. But I do see how these quiet cars can be dangerous since we use our hearing for self-protection.

  • http://www.hempelstudios.blogspot.com Sarah in Exile

    Oh this sounds like the worst idea :( One of the worst things about living post industrial revolution is the sound of the engine. Sundays are ruined by the humming of lawn mowers and leaf blowers. But I do see how these quiet cars can be dangerous since we use our hearing for self-protection.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    What a great idea for marketers! Each customer could download a different sound set for their car. I personally would choose the Star Wars Imperial Theme set, cruising down the highway, my car would scream like a tie-fighter :) Sitting in traffic it would make strange probe-droid sounds. Boy that could be really fun! You think ring tones are annoying? just wait for drive tunes!

  • Bryan Lindemood

    What a great idea for marketers! Each customer could download a different sound set for their car. I personally would choose the Star Wars Imperial Theme set, cruising down the highway, my car would scream like a tie-fighter :) Sitting in traffic it would make strange probe-droid sounds. Boy that could be really fun! You think ring tones are annoying? just wait for drive tunes!

  • CRB

    If given the choice I would opt for the opening
    guitar riffs of Blue Oyster Cult’s “(Don’t) fear the Reaper”!

  • CRB

    If given the choice I would opt for the opening
    guitar riffs of Blue Oyster Cult’s “(Don’t) fear the Reaper”!

  • Joe

    I always thought the lack of noise was a plus. But its a car- we know where to look for them

  • Joe

    I always thought the lack of noise was a plus. But its a car- we know where to look for them

  • Ryan

    I’ve rode in a Prius, the lack of sound in starting up and running is an odd feeling. Can I get a ‘rumble pack’ like my Nintendo so that when I start the car or hit the gas it actually feels like the engine is doing something?

  • Ryan

    I’ve rode in a Prius, the lack of sound in starting up and running is an odd feeling. Can I get a ‘rumble pack’ like my Nintendo so that when I start the car or hit the gas it actually feels like the engine is doing something?

  • http://mesamike.org Mike Westfall

    I think I might opt for a nice ice cream truck chime.

  • http://mesamike.org Mike Westfall

    I think I might opt for a nice ice cream truck chime.

  • Leslie4

    But Mike! You’d have children running after you wherever you go…

  • Leslie4

    But Mike! You’d have children running after you wherever you go…

  • http://katiesbeer.piperblogs.org/ Theresa K.

    I would choose the sound that the flying cars make in the Jetson’s world! http://tinyurl.com/y8r6uss

    I hope to see a flying car in my lifetime, though not necessarily ride in one…

  • http://katiesbeer.piperblogs.org/ Theresa K.

    I would choose the sound that the flying cars make in the Jetson’s world! http://tinyurl.com/y8r6uss

    I hope to see a flying car in my lifetime, though not necessarily ride in one…

  • Robert E

    My wife is legally blind and uses a Leader Dog, “John.” Both John and my wife depend quite heavily on the sound of cars and trucks not only when crossing the road but especially when in parking lots. While we who are sighted might argue the merits of artificial sounds for cars, for the blind and others it is very much a safety factor.

    I hope that we will be more aware than the lady in a car the other day. My wife and “John”, in harness, stood waiting on the curb for the sound of the car to pass. While the lady in the car was graciously waving to the blind lady and her dog to cross in front.

  • Robert E

    My wife is legally blind and uses a Leader Dog, “John.” Both John and my wife depend quite heavily on the sound of cars and trucks not only when crossing the road but especially when in parking lots. While we who are sighted might argue the merits of artificial sounds for cars, for the blind and others it is very much a safety factor.

    I hope that we will be more aware than the lady in a car the other day. My wife and “John”, in harness, stood waiting on the curb for the sound of the car to pass. While the lady in the car was graciously waving to the blind lady and her dog to cross in front.

  • MarkB

    We had Segways at work for several years and one of the problems that inventor Dean Kamen had was they startled people when you rode by as they were very quiet. So before they produced them for the general public they added noise to them so other people sharing the sidewalks would not be startled.

    Another related episode was during the early 90′s when I set up and ran HPV races (Human Power Vehicles) at a local community college. We would put up cones and post signs around the campus, but inevitably someone would drive around one of the cones and get on the course. You could see the shock they had when they were passed by a 50 mile an hour HPV that was totally silent. They typically would hit the curb as the HPV went by. Luckily it never resulted in an accident involving one of the HPV’s.

  • MarkB

    We had Segways at work for several years and one of the problems that inventor Dean Kamen had was they startled people when you rode by as they were very quiet. So before they produced them for the general public they added noise to them so other people sharing the sidewalks would not be startled.

    Another related episode was during the early 90′s when I set up and ran HPV races (Human Power Vehicles) at a local community college. We would put up cones and post signs around the campus, but inevitably someone would drive around one of the cones and get on the course. You could see the shock they had when they were passed by a 50 mile an hour HPV that was totally silent. They typically would hit the curb as the HPV went by. Luckily it never resulted in an accident involving one of the HPV’s.


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