Infiniti installs noisy warning feature on 2012 M35h hybrid model

Article by Christian A., on November 24, 2010

An audible pedestrian warning system will be offered in the world’s first hybrid vehicle as standard. Infiniti said that this system, which is installed in Infiniti’s upcoming M35h model, features a variable pitch and volume tone synthesizer. It is computer-controlled and it works automatically from 0-19 mph. Infiniti clams that this warning sound is a 'sine-wave', audible to all age groups and produces a minimal level of noise pollution.

Whether the sound is in high or low frequency depends on the vehicle speed and if the M35h is accelerating or decelerating. The car is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine with 302bhp and this is paired with the hybrid’s 67bhp electric motor. The car has a 0-60mph sprint time of 5.9 seconds and it has a fuel economy figure of 39mpg.

The Infiniti M35h will become the world’s first hybrid to feature an audible pedestrian warning system as standard when it goes on sale in six months’ time. The ground-breaking high performance hybrid model, which can travel further and faster in silent electric-only mode than other hybrids, utilises a range of distinctive sounds to help ensure the safety of other road users. Infiniti broke new ground when it rolled out the Infiniti M35h in 2012.

For instance, the M35h was the first of its kind to feature a pedestrian warning system, which was basically a necessity due to the car’s extremely silent electric mode. The system warns pedestrians as well as other vehicles of the M53h’s presence through a variety of sounds that road users can definitely recognize. The system was standard to all models of the M53h, and employed a speaker mounted on the front bumper of the unique sedan.

This synthesizer system is centrally controlled by the car’s computer. As soon as the vehicle is started, the system is automatically engaged up until the vehicle attains a cruising speed of 30 kilometers per hour. If the car slows down to 25 kilometers after cruising, the system is reactivated. The revolutionary acoustic system is the result of the collaboration between the Infiniti team and a team of psychologists that specialized in studying pedestrian behavior and the effects of noise to the human psyche.

The result was a system that employed a variety of sound effects aimed to be effective but not contributing to noise pollution in the highway. Specifically, the M35h’s warning system makes use of a sine-wave sound that operates at the 600Hz to 2.5kHZ frequency range. The system also employs variable volume when playing the sounds in the pedestrian warning system. When the car is started up, the system turns up the volume to the highest level to warn nearby cars and pedestrians that the M35h is ready to roll out.

When the driver is reversing the M35h, the system emits an on-and-off sound that warns pedestrians but does not shock them into doing something drastic. A testimony to the efficiency and noise-reducing capacity of the M35h’s engine is the fact that it does not generate noise at all even when running in 80 kph!

As for the electric power plant’s capacity and range, tests reveal that the car can run in full electric mode for as long as half the total time it is taken out on long-distance riding in differing road conditions. Every M35h that rolled out to European customers by spring of 2011 carried the Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrian feature as a standard. This system, along with a host of other safety features like the Dynamic Safety Shield, makes the M35h a safe and efficient vehicle to drive.

Not only is it silent and safe, the M35h also featured unparalleled fuel efficiency and carbon emissions. The Direct Response Hybrid technology pairs the car’s 68 PS electric motor with a 225 kW 3.5-liter petrol V6 engine.

This combination makes for an impressive 5.9-second sprint to 100 km/h from a standstill, whiile emitting virtually no carbon monoxide. As for fuel consumption, it takes 100 kilometers for 7.3 liters to be consumed. These features make the Infiniti M35h a direct challenge to the top European executive car models from other brands.

Press Release


  • Infiniti M35h world’s first hybrid to get standard audible pedestrian warning system
  • New Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians (VSP) technology the result of extensive research program
  • Unique variable pitch, variable volume tone chosen for being most effective – without adding unnecessary noise pollution
  • Another safety-first feature in all-new M models’ innovative safety catalogue
  • M35h joins already-available V6 petrol and V6 diesel in high performance M range from next spring

Rolle, Switzerland (November 18, 2010) – The Infiniti M35h will become the world’s first hybrid to feature an audible pedestrian warning system as standard when it goes on sale in six months’ time. The ground-breaking high performance hybrid model, which can travel further and faster in silent electric-only mode than other hybrids, utilises a range of distinctive sounds to help ensure the safety of other road users.

The new, Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians (VSP) system – is computer controlled and links an in-car sound synthesizer with a speaker built in to the front bumper. It automatically works from start-up to 30 km/h, cutting back in at 25 km/h as the vehicle slows.

Instead of just a single tone, a range of high-low sounds at different volume levels was chosen after an extensive research program to find the most effective, but least intrusive, noise. The team developing the system in Infiniti’s parent group worked with cognitive and acoustic psychologists studying areas from pedestrian behavioural patterns to noise pollution.

The result is a sine-wave sound that extends from 2.5kHz at the high end to a low of 600Hz. It is a range readily audible to all age groups while avoiding a sound range (around 1,000Hz) that would add unnecessary noise to the environment.

The noise sweeps from high to low frequency depending on vehicle speed and whether the M35h is accelerating or decelerating. It is loudest at start-up to give a clear indication the vehicle is beginning to move off, while an intermittent tone is used when reversing – both sounds calculated to ensure the M35h cannot surprise pedestrians and the visually impaired as it approaches.

Although the M35h can travel at speeds of around 80 km/h on engine noise-free electric power alone, road noise past 30 km/h means the M35h generates sufficient sound for the Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians to remain off. An extensive testing program during the hybrid’s development showed that, in mixed driving conditions, the M35h was able to drive in electric-only mode for as much as 50% of the time.

Unlike other manufacturers and in keeping with Infiniti’s generous standard features policy across all its models, Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians will come ready installed on every M35h in Europe when sales commence from spring 2011 (depending on country). Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians joins a host of innovative safety systems available on the M35h including the Dynamic Safety Shield, standard on Premium versions.

Third of a trio of high performance V6 sedans to challenge Europe’s established executive car hierarchy, the M35h is the first model from Japan’s newest luxury automotive manufacturer to feature Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid technology. Combining a potent 306 PS (225 kW) 3.5-litre petrol V6 with a 68 PS (50 kW) electric motor, the M35h delivers highly responsive sports car performance alongside an ability to glide on zero-emissions electric propulsion – more often, for longer periods and at higher speeds than in existing hybrids.

The surprising result for the driver of the M35h is 0-100 km/h in under 5.9 seconds and combined fuel consumption of 7.3 l/100 km (both figures subject to final homologation), making it Infiniti’s fastest as well as cleanest and greenest model.

With standardisation of the Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians , there will however be no surprises in store for pedestrians.

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