Visit any warehouse or DC yard and you'll hear the sounds of the supply chain at work: rumbling truck engines, rattling pallets, and the steady beep, beep, beep that signals a vehicle has shifted into reverse. Backup alarms have been compulsory on large vehicles since the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) first regulated the safety devices in 1979. But some critics now say the beepers have become ineffective, since pedestrians often ignore the noise pollution and some truckers rely on the alarms instead of safe driving techniques.
Commercial safety device supplier Brigade Electronics says it has found a better way. The Portland, Ind.-based firm has developed the "bbs-tek White Sound" reverse alarm, a backup warning system that uses a "shh-shh" form of white sound that is similar to breaking waves. This enables the listener to instantly locate where the sound is coming from, according to the company. Though quieter than the classic backup alarm, the sound is more directional and gentler on the ear, Brigade Electronics says.
You can hear a sample of the sound each time the automated truck backs up in this video clip.