Jaguar removes car safety feature because it distracts pedestrians

Caitlin Morrison

Jaguar has removed a safety feature from its new I-Pace model because it proved as a distraction to pedestrians.

The audible vehicle alert system (AVAS) was designed to warn visually impaired pedestrians when an electric vehicle is approaching, as the cars are almost silent when operating at lower speeds.

Jaguar had originally planned to make the I-Pace sound like a “sci-fi spacecraft”, but in testing the carmaker found that the sound caused pedestrians to look up at the sky, instead of in the direction of the vehicle.

The company then developed a new sound, which is emitted from a speaker located behind the front grille. The alert can be heard in every direction, and cannot be switched off.

Jaguar engineers worked for four years to develop the AVAS, and consulted with charity Guide Dogs for the Blind to “ensure real people are at the heart of our product testing”.

Iain Suffield, a technical specialist at Jaguar, said: “The absence of traditional engine noise from electric vehicles creates a problem for vulnerable pedestrians, such as the blind or visually impaired. This is especially true at low speeds in town centres and car parks. We developed the audible vehicle alert system for the I-Pace to ensure the safety of all road users.”