Sound Design for Silent Vehicles

Sound Design for Silent Vehicles:
Security – Identity – Emotion

Speaker: Dr. Markus Bodden, Product Sound, Essen, Germany


Electronic vehicles open a new domain for automotive industries. This is especially true for sound – they are extremely quiet at low speeds and sound different. The first point is a big risc for pedestrians and cyclists – the accident rate for them doubles. These vehicles thus require a specifically generated external sound. But how should this sound be? There practically is no experience with synthetic vehicle sounds, and e.g. handy ringtones show that sound design can result in a kind of acoustic chaos.

The approach implemented in the ELVIS3 E-motion system is not only to satisfy the security aspect, but to integrate that into a complete brand sound approach. The electronic vehicle needs an acoustical identity which is not defined yet, and the customer needs an emotional relation to his product. To do so, we use so-called interactive sound signatures, a kind of acoustical fingerprint of the overall sound. These base patterns are then customized by the actual and dynamic vehicles parameters (like speed, steering angle, gear etc.) to form the interactive living sound. Due to the flexible architecture the process of finding the corresponding sounds is eased.