Electric cars are inherently quiet at low speeds. Their wide introduction could provide great potential benefit through reducing the levels of disturbance from traffic noise. However sound also acts as a warning to other road users. It signifies the presence of a vehicle, its speed, direction and acceleration. Losing sound has therefore been identified as a safety risk.
Research is necessary to learn how to design appropriate sounds that give sufficient warning, whilst having minimal negative impact on the environment. Furthermore, manufacturers are aware that sound reflects on the perception of their brand, so this needs to be considered too.
WMG and its partners intend to take on this new challenge by adapting the tools and techniques that they have successfully developed for optimising interior vehicle sounds. In particular they have developed target setting approaches based upon drivers’ emotional responses, and interactive simulation methods for appraising vehicle sounds within an appropriate context.
For this new challenge, WMG's partners NoViSim and ECTunes have developed the capability to design exterior car sounds, to then simulate this sound as experienced by a pedestrian, and to use a software module for playback of the designed sounds from a vehicle ( linked to the vehicle’s dynamic state ).
To view video footage of ELVIN, please click here
ELVIN (Electric Vehicle with Interactive Noise) is a utility vehicle which is used around campus to patrol our car parks. It is fitted with NoViSim's sound system and trials are now being run using this new system/capability, to gain direct experience of its use and the reactions of drivers, and most importantly, other road users and people who experience the sounds. Our test vehicle is used regularly and repeatably on our campus, and has been fitted with the module to try out a variety of different types of sounds.
- To use the system and learn from direct experience of real world use.
- To capture objective and subjective data on the sounds that we use.
From this pilot study, to scope a more rigorous, broader and longer-term period of study and research using this vehicle, a range of other vehicles and our existing interactive simulation facilities for vehicle and environmental sound evaluation.