Nissan is well aware of the lack of noise most modern EV’s produce even when whizzing by. However, in order to safely give pedestrians a “heads-up” for an approaching car, the automaker hasn’t opted for artificial engine rumble – it has chosen song.
At this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan chose to serenade its audience with “Canto” (derived from Latin and Spanish for “I sing”), a melodious sound that will replace the quiet and sometimes dangerous lull electrified vehicles emit. Nissan’s “Canto” concept changes tone and pitch as the car accelerates and decelerates, mimicking the way in which a typical motor reacts. What starts as a continuous beeping noise eventually evolves into a harmonious crescendo that sounds strikingly similar to the “Deep Note” heard during THX’s “the audience is listening” bumpers that appeared before films in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s.
The sound is activated at speeds of around 12 to 19 mph and when it ceases is dependent upon local traffic regulations. It is designed to gain the attention of surrounding pedestrians without being disturbing to local residents or the vehicle’s occupants.
“An important element of Nissan Intelligent Mobility is how the vehicle integrates with society, and a crucial component of that is sound,” said Daniele Schillaci, Executive Vice President, Global Sales & Marketing. “‘Canto’ has been developed to help with pedestrian safety, as well as to provide a distinct Nissan sound – one that is energizing and confident, authentic to our brand and representing our unique position in the electrified marketplace.”
“Canto” is actually not the first time Nissan has attempted to make its EV’s more audible. Back in 2010 the automaker released the first Leaf with the rather bland sounding “Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians” system, an innovative technology with a similar purpose and the first of its kind.
However, with “Canto” it appears that Nissan is not only looking to lower the number of vehicle-related pedestrian injuries, but also helping make driving an EV sound a whole lot cooler.