Maunder, M. and Munday, B., "System for Augmenting the In-Cabin Sound of Electric Vehicles," SAE Technical Paper 2017-01-1757, 2017.
Excitement, image and emotion are key attributes for cars, particularly those with higher power ratings. Engine sound has traditionally acted as the car’s voice, conveying these attributes to the driver and passengers along with the brand image. Engine sound also underpins the dynamic driving experience by giving instant feedback about how a car is operating, enhancing the connection between driver and vehicle. For decades, the automotive industry has engineered engine sound to achieve these benefits, thereby defining the ‘language’ of car sound.Electric vehicles deliver strong and responsive performance but naturally lack the acoustic feedback that internal combustion engines provide. While this gives advantages in terms of comfort and environmental noise, the benefits of engine sound are lost. Carefully controlled acoustic feedback inside the car’s cabin brings tangible and valuable benefits both for the dynamic driving experience and to convey the brand image. A key emerging challenge is to provide acoustic augmentation whilst maintaining a degree of integrity and authenticity.A new system fulfils the need for in-cabin sound in electric vehicles. It powerfully enriches the dynamic driving experience and is highly adjustable to match and enhance any brand image. Sounds are sourced from acoustic inputs from the electric drive, providing a perceived authenticity, driver connection and organic load dependency not afforded conveyed by purely synthetic systems. Acoustic comfort is maintained during cruising (and in the environment) while brand sound and driver feedback are provided during more spirited driving. Additional processing delivers a wide range of sound qualities from which the most appropriate brand sound can be selected, and offers a range of feedback tuning options that can be applied in different driving modes. Playback through a loudspeaker system is blended into the natural sound field. The system enables the definition and development of electric vehicle sounds in a live driving context.