This study examined the effect of adding an artificially generated alert sound to a quiet vehicle on its detectability and localizability with 15 visually impaired adults. When starting from a stationary position, the hybrid electric vehicle with an alert sound was significantly more quickly and reliably detected than either the identical vehicle without such added sound or the comparable internal combustion engine vehicle. However, no significant difference was found between the vehicles in respect to how accurately the participants could discriminate the path of a given vehicle (straight vs. right turn). These results suggest that adding an artificial sound to a hybrid electric vehicle may help reduce delay in street crossing initiation by a blind pedestrian, but the benefit of such alert sound may not be obvious in determining whether the vehicle in his near parallel lane proceeds straight through the intersection or turns right in front of him.
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