Silent city

Dr Peter Harrop
Silent city
It started with Julius Caesar banning vehicles from rattling along the cobbles after 8pm so people could get to sleep. Things went backwards in the ensuing two thousand years but now it is coming center stage again. Whereas Smart City is the current hot topic despite it meaning everything and nothing, silent city is an equally important and more understandable term.
Many major cities are declaring dates when diesel vehicles then all internal combustion vehicles will be banned. Pure electric buses are being preferred for zero pollution at point of use and pure electric cars are being adopted very rapidly alongside plug in versions that can run in pure electric mode sometimes. All that reduces noise considerably even when laws come in requiring some sound to be generated to warn pedestrians. Low noise becomes synonymous with low or zero pollution in a win win situation.
Construction vehicles in cities will get concessions to operate with their noisy polluting diesel engines for some time but the writing is on the wall for them as well. Newly feasible is the wheel loader that can, at a flick of the switch, go from hybrid to pure electric to work silently at night and cleanly indoors. Huddig, Volvo, Kramer and others now have pure electric and hybrid wheel loaders and other industrial vehicles with these attributes. In addition, some utilise the unique ability of near-wheel and in-wheel motors to give vectored traction and steering together so industrial vehicles cease to noisily damage roads and flooring they cross and they cope better with slippery conditions. For example, snow removal will be quieter and more effective. Indeed, electric powertrains eliminating axles brings heavy parts more centrally permitting heavier loads to be handled with a smaller, lighter weight vehicle. Why then buy an industrial vehicle that is more dangerous, ungainly, causes damage and is only suitable for outdoor use and when noise is acceptable? For more see the IDTechEx reports, Electric Vehicles Will Change the World 2017-2027 and Industrial and Commercial Electric Vehicles on Land 2017-2027. Near silent air taxis are being designed for cities that will even be permitted to operate in the night. Some will be vertical takeoff and others Extremely Short Takeoff and Landing ESTOL thanks to electric motors in wheels and propeller. Add those silent robot delivery vehicles gliding along the sidewalk and flying overhead. See the IDTechEx reports Manned Electric Aircraft 2016-2026 and Electric Drones: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) 2015-2025.
The prospect of one autonomous pure electric taxi/bus - intensively used - replacing 20 private cars increasingly banned or discouraged in cities means less noise and less pollution. See the IDTechEx report, Electric Car Technology and Forecasts 2017-2027
Husqvarna, maker of electric robot lawnmowers and other devices, has an annual Silent City meeting. Its 2016 Silent City 2 meeting began with an expanded vision for the future of urban parks, reporting, "This vision will no doubt grow, and could include rooftops, automated maintenance, and a greater community adoption and shared "ownership". One thing is for sure, the look of circa 2030 urban parks could be a lot different than we imagine from the parks of today.
Pavel Hajman, president, Husqvarna Division, opened up their annual meeting at the Technical Museum in Stockholm, Sweden. This year the United Nations adopted new sustainability goals, and Husqvarna is committed to helping these become a reality. Husqvarna has been supplying forestry and or landscaping tools for the last 98 years.
While Husqvarna wants to use customer centric innovation to merge sustainability with efficiency, our interest lies in how it affects outdoor power equipment. Ergonomics and safety will be key along with tool intelligence. This extends to smart tools as well as user information to better understand how Pros use these tools.
Top image: Boston Coach Blog