Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 49 Number 3, 2012
   Pages 381— 394

Abstract — Impact of adding artificially generated alert sound to hybrid electric vehicles on their detectability by pedestrians who are blind

Dae Shik Kim, PhD;1* Robert Wall Emerson, PhD;1 Koorosh Naghshineh, PhD;2 Jay Pliskow, MS;3 Kyle Myers, MS2

Departments of 1Blindness and Low Vision Studies and 2Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI; 3Power Technologies Group, Dana Holding Corporation, Lisle, IL

Abstract–A repeated-measures design with block randomization was used for the study, in which 14 adults with visual impairments attempted to detect three different vehicles: a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) with an artificially generated sound (Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians [VSP]), an HEV without the VSP, and a comparable internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. The VSP vehicle (mean +/– standard deviation [SD] = 38.3 +/– 14.8 m) was detected at a significantly farther distance than the HEV (mean +/– SD = 27.5 +/– 11.5 m), t = 4.823, p < 0.001, but no significant difference existed between the VSP and ICE vehicles (mean +/– SD = 34.5 +/– 14.3 m), t = 1.787, p = 0.10. Despite the overall sound level difference between the two test sites (parking lot = 48.7 dBA, roadway = 55.1 dBA), no significant difference in detection distance between the test sites was observed, F(1, 13) = 0.025, p = 0.88. No significant interaction was found between the vehicle type and test site, F(1.31, 16.98) = 0.272, p = 0.67. The findings of the study may help us understand how adding an artificially generated sound to an HEV could affect some of the orientation and mobility tasks performed by blind pedestrians.

Key words: alert sound, blind, detectability, hybrid electric vehicle, orientation and mobility, pedestrian safety, quiet car, vehicle detection, Vehicle Sound for Pedestrian, visually impaired.


View HTML  ¦  View PDF  ¦  Contents Vol. 49, No. 3
This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Kim DS, Wall Emerson R, Naghshineh K, Pliskow J, Myers K. Impact of adding artificially generated alert sound to hybrid electric vehicles on their detectability by pedestrians who are blind. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2012; 43(3):381–94.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1682/JRRD.2011.03.0041
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Last Reviewed or Updated  Thursday, April 26, 2012 11:55 AM

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