Skip to main content

Ex-NASA engineer creates the friendliest car horn you’ll ever hear

NICEST Car Horn Ever- DIY
A honk of your car horn, no matter how well-meaning, has the potential to elicit one of a variety of interesting responses from other drivers.

On a good day they’ll immediately understand the reason for your toot — perhaps they didn’t notice the traffic signal switch to green — perhaps even raising their hand to apologize or as a show of thanks. But on another occasion, perhaps dependent on the kind of day they’ve had, a helpful honk may prompt them to leave the comfort of their driving seat to grab a heavy bat-like object from their trunk before setting about altering the shape of your car with a carefully administered beating.

Related Videos

The problem is that the car horn, pretty much any way you press it, just doesn’t sound as polite as you’d sometime like it to.

That’s why Mark Rober, evidently a man of impeccable manners, decided to design a super-polite horn. And it seems to be working out for him (i.e., no impromptu hospital visits have been reported so far).

Rober, a former NASA engineer who loves making stuff, fitted the “nicest car horn ever” into his VW Jetta before testing it out in real-world situations on his daily drives.

The contraption actually offers three types of honk. First up is the “courtesy horn,” the politest of the three options that emits two super-quick chirps, which, as Rober says in his video, are not only friendly sounding, but also a little quieter than a normal horn.

Rober says that this is the one he uses most often, like when he’s at a stop light and the person in front misses it changing because they’re busy looking at their smartphone. When that happens, he says he’s not annoyed, he just wants to give them a friendly nudge: “I’m not upset, I’m just like, ‘Hey, dude, the light’s green, no big deal.'”

The second horn option is “one notch nicer than a courtesy honk” and isn’t really a honk at all. Indeed, anyone that hears it will wonder if R2-D2 is in the vicinity, because that’s kind of what it sounds like.

The various parts used to make the unique horn system were all bought on Amazon, and Rober gives a quick explanation in the video (above) about how he and  a couple of buddies set about building it.

Of course, Rober knows all too well that there may be times when a severe honk is called for in order to express strong feelings of dissatisfaction. For these occasions he’s installed the kind of ear-splitting horn you get on trains and semi-trucks, which works when you hit the red button. Rober recommends you only use this beast in “extreme situations.” And yes, there may be consequences.

Editors' Recommendations

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a self-driving car? Moove lets you find out
self driving car vr experience moovellab 18

Chances are that, if you haven’t already been in a self-driving car, you’ll get the opportunity to be driven by one in the next few years. But how exactly does this technology, which you’ll be expected to put your trust in, view the world? A new project created by researchers in Germany sets out to answer that very question.

What the folks at Moove Lab and Meso Digital Interiors have created is a vehicle which looks a little bit like a lying-down box cart, and that is equipped with the genuine components that go into a real-life autonomous car. The human pilot wears an Oculus Rift headset, which displays the data gathered from the vehicle’s sensors, and uses this information to control the vehicle by steering it. In essence, it’s a trust exercise designed to give humans the unique opportunity to experience what it would be like to be a self-driving car.

Read more
The golden years: Why we’ll all love self-driving cars when we’re older
harman combats cyberattacks on autonomous vehicles at ces why well all love self driving cars when were older

At the Consumer Electronics Show this year, most of the talk from automakers was about autonomous cars. That’s not surprising, given the CES audience and the rapid development of self-driving technology. Depending on the automaker, the promises of completely self-driving cars ranged from imminent to cautious, but all agreed that completely or mostly autonomous cars would hit our roadways in the next 10 years.

There are always exceptions, but most cars you see on the road are less than 20 years old. The average age of cars driven daily on the road is about 11 years. In fact, there are still more than 10 million cars on the road 25+ years old.

Read more
Uber’s Pittburgh robotaxis amuse riders, still struggle with double parked cars
oxbotica self driving car uber 1 feat

About a month ago, Uber rolled out its fleet of self-driving robo-cabs in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You might be wondering why it wasn’t Palo Alto, California or New York City, but the location is far from random. Pittsburgh is also the home of Carnegie Mellon University, which provided much of the brainpower for Uber’s new Advanced Technologies Center. That’s where the autonomous cabs are being developed.

Uber is tight-lipped on specifics, but according to the Mayor of Pittsburgh, Uber now has over 500 employees in the city. A quick look through Uber’s current job openings turns up 64 available positions in Pittsburgh against a total of seven for the rest of the world, and most of those are in Detroit. So it’s safe to say that this is more than an experiment. Uber is going all-in to put self-driving cars on the road as soon as possible.
Not quite driverless
Right now, Uber has a small fleet of autonomous vehicles plying the streets of Pittsburgh. The self-driving Ubers are Ford Fusion Hybrids, and they’re fitted with a special roof-mounted array of cameras, GPS receivers, and a LIDAR (laser radar) system that collectively generate over a million data points every second. The autonomous system is designed to handle acceleration, braking, steering, and point-to-point navigation.

Read more