Vehicle Proximity Notification System

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Technical Discussion' started by AzWxGuy, Dec 11, 2020.

  1. AzWxGuy

    AzWxGuy Weather Guy

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    Learning more about my 2021 everyday. There has always been the desire, and maybe not necessarily the need, for these hybrid vehicles when functioning on all-electric, cruising in a parking lot say, to make some sort of noise that will alert pedestrians. Can't always trust the drivers to be sufficiently aware of their surroundings.:cool: This is not really a complaint, more of a wondering, of how Toyota decided on what kind of noise would get the most attention. They must have had a competition or did some research to come up with the dry alternator bearing sound I currently find my vehicle making when speed drops below 20 mph or in reverse. The volume even varies with speed, getting louder as you approach the 20 mph mark. Probably to alert a larger area. Just a wondering. I didn't do my due diligence and search the threads for similar comments. Thought I would get in a new post which I don't do very often. Now I'll go do my search.(y)
     
  2. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    I've read elsewhere that they did significant consultation with sight disability advocate groups; the same folks that helped with pedestrian crosswalk signaling systems. Sorry I don't have anything more specific.
     
  3. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    On my Gen3, 2017 PP, and now 2020 PP, the VPNS sounds they made (makes), which I think is akin to spaceship hoovering, were (is) almost inaudible. This is all at default loudest setting I believe. I really doubt that it would have alerted nearby pedestrians. However, my friend has I believe 2019 Rav4 Hybrid, and his VPNS is very loud. It is the same spaceship sound, but much louder than my three cars so that I can hear the sound from inside of the house with windows closed when he pulls into our driveway almost 30 feet away.
     
  4. dbstoo

    dbstoo Active Member

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    I've never understood the need for that particular noise. I've owned many high quality cars that were so quiet that you could not tell that the engine was running.

    Personally, if audio cues for locating cars is a problem, I'd rather see free sonar based traffic detectors that could be integrated into the handle of the cane that the blind have to carry anyway. It would work like the cross traffic sonar that we have on our cars, only it would be tuned to focus on cars approaching from all directions. Sonar modules are dirt cheap, and it would be more efficient to provide such a device to the 1 million blind people in the US instead of every car.

    Dan
     
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  5. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    There have been quite a few threads already discussing this. You can always just force the PRIUS to start the ICE.
     
  6. Diemaster

    Diemaster Active Member

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    I shoved my pedestrian speaker with packing peanuts. If the pedestrian can't hear or see me going 1 MPH that is their problem. If they get in my way thats when my aftermarket 120db train air horn comes in very handy:D. (Horn a necessary thing here in So. CA traffic. [Even more so now with all the potheads smoking on the road and the cant breathe, mask wearers in this pandemic.:rolleyes:])
     
  7. MTN

    MTN Active Member

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    I do believe that our 2021 is louder than the 2020 we had. The difference was enough for me to ask - why is the new car louder?
    I think this is the answer to my question. Speaker/setting is simply a big higher volume, it seems.
     
  8. AzWxGuy

    AzWxGuy Weather Guy

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    Needed to correct my first observations of this system. It actually is loudest in reverse as I said, but then softer in drive decreasing in volume to off around 22 mph. It certainly gets noticed, as is its intent. I don't mind it as much now as I can divert my attention to the larger, metallic boxes in parking lots and leave the bipedal creatures to their own devices.
     
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  9. EconoModder

    EconoModder Junior Member

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    I just accessed mine on my 2021. Putting my hand over the speaker did virtually nothing. I just shrink-wrapped it and then covered the shrink wrap with black duct tape so it doesn't unravel and isn't very visible that it has been modified as you can see the speaker thru the grille. It is still plugged in so as not to trigger the dash warning.

    Now, how's it sound? Nearly inaudible with the window down in D. Still pretty audible in reverse but significantly reduced. This is what I was looking for. Still nice to have it for reverse I suppose. I'm happy. =)
     
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  10. tucatz

    tucatz Active Member

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    How do you get to the speaker? Isn’t is somewhere down in the front right side of the engine bay close to the ground?
     
  11. SeattleBebop1

    SeattleBebop1 Member

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    This Toyota dealer shows the VPNS on different models, and notes that the RAV4 is indeed a noisy mofo.

    I've never been bothered by my Prime's VPNS. Now that damn reverse beeping, I got it reduced to one with Dr. Prius app. It made me anxious (backing up always makes me anxious, although I'm getting more confident that I have a backup camera for the first time.
     
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  12. tucatz

    tucatz Active Member

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    This sucks! Car manufacturers are finally making quiet cars. Lawyers called in. Now the quiet car makes artificial noises! Ahhh!
     
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  13. EconoModder

    EconoModder Junior Member

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    Remove the plastic cover with the 5 or so clips using a screwdriver. (Careful to no drop them down in the engine bay). Once you remove it a 12mm box or open end wrench will remove the speaker along with unplugging it which will allow you to do what I did. =)
     
  14. SeattleBebop1

    SeattleBebop1 Member

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    I also dislike the artificial noise. I love quiet cars (my old German Turbo Diesel about rattled my teeth out of my head), but I have to think governments had some hard data that people were getting struck to mandate this -- governments have been fairly welcoming to electric/hybrid cars with the bonus incentives, so I don't think it's some kind of anti-electric bias. Anyone know where the reports are?

    Hell, just walking around my neighborhood last night (headlamp on, blinky light attached to compensate for my black running gear), I had two confrontation with cars IN THE CROSSWALK WITH THE PEDESTRIAN SIGNAL ON. I'm fully sighted and could have jumped out of the way, if necessary (it wasn't, Seattle you can usually stare them down).

    Dan's idea of detectors into cane is awesome. But I think all people with vision issues don't carry canes, so maybe this is why the cars are equipped instead?
     
  15. dbstoo

    dbstoo Active Member

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    In general, the idea of mandated car noise is bad, but the implementation is even worse. Here's why.

    The statistics that were used to support the law did not differentiate between low speed and higher speed impacts in parking areas. It did not actually tabulate the number of blind people who were hit by cars that were moving at parking lot speeds. The statistics were further flawed by only covering the Prius since that was the only hybrid available in mass during the span that the statistics were culled from. There was no determination as to whether the Prius was running on battery or ICE.

    First, the idea of the mandated noise is to alert people who can't see. There does not seem to be any specific sound or music. Nor is there a specific sound level. Nor is there any requirement for directional speakers.

    So what we have in the Prius Prime is a sound that reminds me of a bad wheel bearing. That sound is audible, but faint enough that I have to roll down the window to hear it clearly.

    Would a blind person realize that the bad wheel bearing noise means that a car is about to hit them? Or one making a coo-coo sound? Or a beeping? Good question. Ask yourself whether you knew what to do the first time you heard a bird chirp when the light turned green? I didn't, not until I'd come upon it several times.

    Then there's the whole issue of directionality. If you hear a car with the radio cranked up, how do you figure out whether it's about to hit you? You don't really know. You look around. Blind folks can't do that. To have a chance of being effective the noise source has to be very directional so that it's only audible to the people in your path. Otherwise you will have a cacophony that simply confuses the listener.

    Lastly, there are many cars that are as quiet as a BEV or hybrid. I've stood next to many luxury cars without being aware that the engine is running. These cars are not required to make noise.

    This is a law that really needs some scientific experiments to determine whether or not it works. In the mean time it's just a noisy, expensive add on. If the law (as written) does not work it should be repealed.

    Dan
     
    #15 dbstoo, Mar 6, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2021
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  16. SeattleBebop1

    SeattleBebop1 Member

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    Found a video of the 2021 Prime VPNS! It is MUCH louder than my 2017 Prime.


    Although I still hate the incessant back-up beeping while in reverse more. I'm glad I got mine reduced to one beep with Dr. Prius.
     
  17. priusmatty

    priusmatty Active Member

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    I personally like the noise as I have seen it get pedestrians’ attention many times. I prefer the added layer of safety.
     
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  18. dbstoo

    dbstoo Active Member

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    @priusmatty. Are you saying that the 2012 Prius C has the VPNS? I thought that was introduced towards the end of the decade.

    Personally, I hate the noise because it sounds similar to bad brakes. I need to know when the brakes are going out.

    Dan
     
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  19. priusmatty

    priusmatty Active Member

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    Good point. It really does sound like bad brakes.
     
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