The detectability of conventional, hybrid and electric vehicle sounds by sighted, visually impaired and blind pedestrians

  • Published: Dresden University of Technology, 2013
  • Authors: Altinsoy, E.
  • Date Added: 05 Feb 2014
  • Last Update: 05 Feb 2014
  • Format: pdf


An experiment undertaken by the Dresden University of Technology in Germany investigated how visually impaired, blind and sighted participants responded to the sound produced by internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, electric vehicles (EV) and hybrid-electric vehicles (HEV).


The reaction time of thirty seven participants, aged between 20-69 years was measured.

Key Findings:

  • Three groups of pedestrians (sighted, blind and visually impaired) detected the sound of EVs significantly later than ICE vehicles, with the ICE being detected from a distance of approximately 36m and EVs at approximately 14m.

  • The study also looked at manufactured sounds on EVs and found that synthesised noise, despite being 7dB quieter, produced similar reactions to recorded vehicle sound.


Electric vehicle, detectability, blind