Why should electric vehicles produce sound?
Traffic noise affects society in general, with a clear impact on the level of productivity, well being and health. Electric vehicles, being inherently quiet, provide a great opportunity for positive social change, and part of that adjustment must be cultural.
Until recently, automotive experts invested their time finding ways to reduce the level of sound produced by cars with internal combustion engines. Currently though, the question arises conversely, to the extent that different surveys reveal an increased risk of collision of quieter vehicles with pedestrians and cyclists. For example, the U.S. legislation on pedestrian safety, published in 2011, requires that, in the near future, these vehicles have an audible alert.
However, the opportunity might not be to merely replace the current paradigm of automobile noise with an aproximate substitute with only road safety in mind. In fact, our time is of an unprecedented chance to redefine the soundscape of roads and cities, by building a compreehensive system that manages tone and intensity of noise, provides adaptability to environment, time of day, traffic congestion and road conditions. All of these factors, as much as the drivers point of view, will play an important role in the future of sound design for electric vehicles.
The Digital Creativity Center (CCD) of the School of the Arts of the Catholic University of Portugal, is promoting an initiative that opens the discussion of a topic increasingly debated internationally: the sound design for electric vehicles. Promoted in partnership with several national and international entities with interest and activity in the development of electric vehicles and audio research, this initiative brings together a group of experts from industry and academia, who will present and discuss different perspectives and concerns around this emerging topic.
CCD, School of Arts, Católica Porto
November 5th 2012
As a first initiative, a seminar will take place in Porto, Portugal, on November 5th 2012, with 6 different talks about the challenges and opportunities for the sound design for electric vehicles.
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International Contest on the Sound Design for Electric Vehicles
As a bet on the transfer of academic research and creativity to the industry, this project is also preparing an international contest, which will invite participants to rethink and develop proposals for sound design for an electric vehicle. The objective is that participants propose novel and inspiring new ideas for the quiet and sophisticated electric vehicles of the future, in different scenarios.
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