Author: Matthew Field

Futuristic electric cars from Nissan could sing to warn pedestrians of approaching vehicles, using melodic sounds to replace the noise of petrol engines.

The Japanese carmaker has demonstrated its “Canto” car song, derived from the Latin word for sing, which uses an electronic buzz rather than the recognisable sound from petrol engines.

Electric vehicles are so quiet at low speeds that they can go unnoticed by pedestrians, and Nissan was the first to introduce artificial car sounds for its electric vehicles with the popular Nissan Leaf in 2011.

The Canto will change the sound Nissan cars make while driving, varying in pitch and tone depending on whether the vehicle is accelerating, decelerating or reversing, almost sounding like electronic music.

The Japanese carmaker debuted the sound with its IMx concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show, which would use the Canto car song and have a range of 600 kilometers of autonomous operation.

Carmakers have been encouraged by regulators to increase the noise made by electric vehicles, with the EU ruling in 2014 that all new electric cars should make noise by 2019.

The noise is especially important for blind or visually impaired pedestrians, allowing them to better listen for the sound of approaching electric vehicles.

The company also demonstrated its autonomous vehicle technology on a modified Infiniti Q50 sedan. Its semi-autonomous model of the Inifiti uses 12 sonars, 12 cameras and artificial intelligence to operate without driver interference when on a motorway.

The company has been a frontrunner in the adoption of electric vehicles, with the hugely popular Nissan Leaf recently upgraded with a 235-mile range on a single charge of its 40 kilowatt hour battery – about 50pc more than the current version.

The Leaf has been the best-selling electric vehicle in the world, selling more than 283,000 vehicles.