TECHDesigners of sound
- HYUNDAI MOTORS
3 minute read
Just about 50 kilometers south of Seoul, Korea, Hyundai’s Sound Design Research Lab as part of the Namyang R&D Center is located in Hwaseong city. Dr.Dong Chul Park, the lab’s director, and his team don’t only develop special sounds for the passengers in the cabin using Active Sound Design (ASD) technologies.
At the lab, Dr Park and his team design auditory experiences for vehicles meaning engine sounds and various alarming sounds. Recently, they have been researching on multi-sensory experiences like haptics, such as vibration. This is pretty exciting since haptics will enhance auditory experiences in autonomous vehicles and in other means of transport in the future of mobility.
What sounds are they working on, exactly? Dr Park explains, “We design the sounds of conventional engines, of electric vehicle sounds, and exterior sounds that alert pedestrians. Inside a vehicle there are lots of sounds, such as warnings, alarms, or welcome and goodbye sounds.”
Interestingly, while driving, conveying information through auditory and tactile can be pretty important too. Especially during a long driving experience auditory and tactile become even more important than the visual sensation. In a similar regard, the first impression of a new car and the one a year later are very different. While visual impression decreases over time, the auditory and tactile impression increases in importance.
At the moment, Dr Park and his team are also working on special sounds for luxury and sports cars. “Both segments will gain much more importance in the future.” says Dr Park. And there is another target group that needs more exciting features that can compete with their smartphones: the younger generations.
Dr Parks tells, “For these we developed our Active Sound Design (ASD) technology to enhance the engine’s sound in the passenger cabin.
…Today’s driver wants to change
the character of his or her car sound.
It’s generated electrically
so that a customer can choose
between several sounds, from quiet
to more aggressive nuances.”
Another area of the lab’s expertise is creating alerting sounds for electric cars to warn pedestrians. In the recent years, many countries have introduced noise regulations of some sort but that didn’t make the sound design process easier. “Pedestrians have to instinctively recognize that a vehicle is approaching. Moreover the vehicle’s sound shouldn't be perceived as annoying. And we had to consider the driver's reaction to the sound, among other, ” recalls Dr Park.
Listen to the sounds of Kona EV.
When the lab developed the warning sounds, they focused on real engine sounds. The solution is a varied sound timbre and one of its kind. We’re looking forward to hear more of Hyundai’s electric vehicles on the street.