Behind the scenes of Volvo’s self-driving concept car

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Autonomous automobiles could also be the future, however reimagining the vehicle for a self-driving world is not any easy feat. How do you recreate the pure interplay between human drivers and pedestrians? Can a rushing, multi-ton hunk of steel ever by actually protected for the passengers inside? And, extra urgently, can any of this be achieved utilizing present-day expertise?

Quick Firm despatched a workforce to Gothenburg, Sweden, to go to the Volvo innovation lab the place groups of designers and engineers are tackling these obstacles, utilizing rising tech to search out inventive options to the infinitely complicated self-driving downside.

Central to the mission is the Volvo 360c, an autonomous, glass-domed concept car that Volvo engineers have outfitted with particular audio system to speak info to passengers and pedestrians alike. The analysis mission, dubbed Sonic Interplay in Clever Automobiles (SIIC), goals to resolve one of the largest points with electrical automobiles: they’re virtually fully silent. What they discovered was a serious alternative to construct rider belief by reproducing the auditory expertise of the basic, gas-guzzling combustion engine.

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WATCH: Volvo is creating the most secure self-driving car with sound and gaming expertise

The Volvo workforce studied sounds from each the automotive and gaming worlds to generate three totally different sound behaviors based mostly on rider preferences for the 360c concept. The acceleration, as an illustration, can sound barely totally different for somebody who desires the easy tones of the car at work; or a softer, extra cautious and reassuring tone; or a 3rd that has a extra entertaining and enjoyable sound profile. (Think about a reverberating, space-age metallic hum.) However they’re all particular to their use case. “Sound could possibly be a robust device to indicate the car’s intention,” says Fredrik Hagman, senior sound designer at Volvo Automobiles.

Simply as essential, Hagman explains, sounds can be utilized to speak details about the exterior world—and to broadcast the car’s intentions. Transient, repeated crescendos just like what you would possibly hear if you flip in your laptop for the first time can point out a lane change, as an illustration, or forestall movement illness by warning passengers of an upcoming maneuver, resembling a pointy flip. Sounds can even alert close by pedestrians, principally changing the guide nods and waves you would possibly make your self as a driver. “We’ve used sounds to virtually give the car a voice,” says Hagman.

The video above is the first in a brand new Quick Firm sequence known as Innovation Labs, during which we’ll be taking an inside take a look at the most enjoyable, modern, and compelling analysis labs round the world, and speaking to the enterprise leaders and creatives that make them run. Watch this house for extra.