Cars to roll out sound ef­fects

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By MARK HINCH­LIFFE

SCI­ENCE fic­tion movie sound ef­fects could make near-silent elec­tric cars safer.

Audi ‘‘acous­ti­cians’’ ex­per­i­ment­ing with ar­ti­fi­cial en­gine noises for their e-tron elec­tric cars com­ing from 2012 have sug­gested us­ing the sound from the Audi RSQ in the 2004 Will Smith sci­ence fic­tion movie, I Robot.

Elec­tric cars are so quiet at slow speeds they pose a risk to blind peo­ple and pedes­tri­ans.

The US govern­ment has al­ready in­tro­duced the Pedes­trian Safety En­hance­ment Act which stip­u­lates a noise level to alert blind and other pedes­tri­ans. Ja­pan is fol­low­ing suit.

Nis­san has pro­duced a whirring sound for its com­ing Leaf elec­tric car, but Audi wants some­thing more ‘‘sporty’’.

Audi brand devel­op­ment boss Chris­tian Scha­di­uller said the ob­vi­ous ap­proach would be to work on the fa­mil­iar sound of a com­bus­tion en­gine.

‘‘On the other hand, we want to un­der­score that an elec­tric or hy­brid Audi is an in­no­va­tive prod­uct,’’ he said. ‘‘We also want to make our Vor­sprung durch Tech­nik au­di­ble in the era of elec­tric mo­bil­ity.’’

Audi acous­tics boss Ralf Kunkel sug­gests sci­ence fic­tion sound ef­fects.

‘‘The sounds used for space ships in films are rem­i­nis­cent of car sounds, yet are also very dif­fer­ent, mak­ing this a rather in­ter­est­ing ap­proach,’’ he said.

‘‘The sound will be new and un­usual. The Audi RSQ from the 2004 Hollywood film I, Robot, star­ring Will Smith, gives an in­di­ca­tion of how an Audi might sound in the fu­ture.’’

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