Electric and Autonomous Vehicle: from Sound Quality to Innovative Sound Design
* Presenting author
This study follows long-term lines of research and realizations done within the frame of electric vehicle sound design. It currently deals with the most up-to-date issue addressing the near future mobility: Autonomous Driving (AD). It is implemented in a 2-year collaboration with a french car manufacturer that deployed a high-tech demo car where the sonic dimension was explored in a spatial, and a multisensory, approach. Specific hardware devices (multi-channel diffusion system) and software protocols (spatialization and vehicle data transmission) made it possible to study and realize numerous and accurate internal / external warning sounds and auditory Human-Machine Interfaces – and finally to contribute to a kind of "passive branding" of the artifact. The Autonomous Driving condition was especially considered as it corresponds to an unprecedented user experience in terms of human-centered process, where sounds could particularly play a role for informing and, if necessary, reassuring the driver and passengers. The paper presents a thorough analysis of the project: initial requirements and data, multi-disciplinary framework, technical details, sound concepts and realization. It also opens onto reflexive and prospective considerations about the global notion of sound quality that especially look at possible forms of "low-intrusiveness" in sound design, and their related properties.