Talking Teslas might warn pedestrians—and perhaps express a bit more

Talking Teslas might warn pedestrians—and perhaps express a bit moreTalking Teslas might warn pedestrians—and perhaps express a bit more

Pedestrian warning sounds for electric cars are sometimes a fun extension of the vehicle; but they’re more often dissonant with the rest of the experience—a bit like a bongo drum at the opera, or a geeky science fiction reference thrown out in the middle of golf-course outing. In short, electric cars are silent, and so having them make noise is weird—weirder in fact than if they were just to loudly say, “Watch out!” That could be part of the motivation behind an announcement from Tesla CEO Elon Musk that cars might soon be able to talk to people “if you want.” In an accompanying video snippet, amid giggling, you can hear a voice, “Well don’t just stand there staring, hop in.” In Tesla models, more external audio capabilities will add to Sentry mode, which Musk said “will make for some epic robber confusion.” Musk pointed out that of course drivers would also be able to fart in others’ general direction. This editor, on the other hand, can’t stop thinking about what the “No, You Go!” clip from Portlandia [below] might be like with such a feature. Such a feature might be of use in several ways in electric cars—as a way of the driver to communicate outside the vehicle at will or as a horn or mouthpiece or, perhaps, as a way of breaking through the din of the city with safety warnings from the car to pedestrians and bicyclists. The exterior speakers, hidden under the front and rear ...
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