The gasoline-electric hybrid gets good mileage but is also quiet because it runs as an electric motor much of the time. That advantage has drawn complaints that pedestrians, the blind in particular, are at greater risk of being hit by the car, especially at low speeds.
Japan is also a rapidly aging society, making audible cars critical. Toyota said the device is based on guidelines addressing the dangers of silent cars, including hybrids, issued in January by the government. (The Japan Times)