July 15, 2005 The technology improvements that are giving us ever quieter cars are not proving popular with many car drivers. Car manufacturers now want to restore to the inside of a car the sounds their customers want to hear while preserving the reduction in exterior noise. But what exactly do their customers want to hear? Researchers at the University of Warwick's Warwick Manufacturing Group are helping them answer that question.
Researchers at the University of Warwick's Warwick Manufacturing Group in partnership with Bedfordshire company Sound and Vibration Technology Ltd have been using a performance car simulator, built into a car frame, to gather information on what engine sounds are preferred by various different types of customers. Customers and car engineers can use the simulator to compare and contrast potential sounds from a range of different cars and make judgment about which sound they prefer.
The researchers, led at the University of Warwick by Principal Research Fellow Paul Jennings are working with a range of car companies. They are finding a wide variation in preferred sounds among drivers of different classes of car.
The research team are also considering the issue of how pedestrians will cope with ultra silent electric or fuel cell powered cars. Without any sound cues at all that these cars are approaching there are obvious dangers for pedestrians unless external sounds can be artificially added thus replicating what pedestrians normally expect to hear.
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