Toyota reveals ground breaking tech
Electric cars are quiet - so much so that manufacturers will soon be required to play electronic noises to minimise danger to pedestrians.
Toyota is going a step further in South America, by broadcasting sounds believed to help plants grow.
Ayax, Toyota's local manufacturer and distributor in Urugay, says "research on how noise affects plants shows that they react to specific waveform spectrum vibrations.
When exposed to a specific range of frequencies, plants show better growth and absorption of nutrients".
The carmaker linked up with Electric Factory, a green tech company, to put those sounds in the front of hybrid Toyota vehicles as part of what it calls "the hy project".
Electric Factory co-founder Juan Ciapessoni told The Verge "we see ourselves within the Toyota ecosystem as upgraders, helpers, contributors, and this is a totally different angle that other brands were missing".
Prius hatchbacks in Uruguay will emit a pulsing sound that varies in line with the car's speed. While Nissan is tuning electric cars to play a sci-fi-inspired tone that sounds like something Daft Punk might produce, Ayac's sound is a coarse, abrasive tone almost as if the car's brake pads or wheel bearings need replacing.
Ayax president Alejandro Curcio says people have told him the plan "is crazy", even though there is some supporting evidence.
A University of Missouri study found in 2014 that plants can react to sounds such recordings of the noise made by insects when eating plants, provoking a chemical defensive response.
Biologist Heidi Appel worked on the study, telling the Washington Post "we can imagine applications of this where plants could be treated with sound or genetically engineered to respond to certain sounds that would be useful for agriculture".