Four automakers, the European Commission and other collaborators have spent the last three years working together on a system that can warn other road users about an approaching electric vehicle.
The system, known eVADER, uses a windscreen-mounted camera to detect pedestrians, cyclists and other road users. If someone is detected, a warning sound is targeted at that person via a six-speaker setup.
eVADER's warning noise sounds rather like a science fiction tractor beam, and is said to be up to five decibels quieter than a regular petrol or diesel engine.
"Our objective has been to find an optimum balance between ensuring the cars are detectable, whilst retaining the reduction in noise pollution, which is one of the great benefits that our EVs offer," says David Quinn, Nissan's project leader on the eVADER programme.
Electric vehicles, due to their nearly silent motors, are much quieter than comparable petrol and diesel vehicles, especially during acceleration and at low speeds.
The eVADER project is currently being bankrolled by the European Commission, and includes the four automakers (Nissan, Renault, Peugeot and Citroen), as well as research institutions and component suppliers, such as Siemens and Continental.
There's no indication of when, or if, the eVADER system will be commercialised and put into production electrified vehicles.