Three-Dimensional Sound to Warn Drivers of Dangers Nearby

The Luleå University of Technology and Volvo Cars, an automotive company, are collaborating in a new "3D sound design" project, which aims to develop systems for providing warning to car drivers about any object, person or animal near the car.

Inside the LTU-acousticlab researchers are driving simulator in which the impact of different types of warning information and driving ability can be simulated. Photo Leif Nyberg

Scientists across many disciplines including acoustics, music, composing, psychology and design are part of the project. They will be studying the optimum method of delivering the information to the car driver. The researchers will be concentrating on sound – engineering acoustics as the main area along with the other disciplines. They will decide on how signals are to be composed for providing information about the type, urgency and risk of the object nearby.

The team intends to discover a design methodology for noise, in the way designers visualize images, using a holistic approach and ideas from musicians and composers. They will “sketch sound” and then use visual and auditory interfaces for communicating this information with the decision makers.

The researchers will decide on the best method and form to convey the information so that it does not affect the safety of the driver. In the lab, the researchers demonstrated that the placement of sounds affected the performance of the driving person. They are working on technology that will enable them to place the sound anywhere, including outside the vehicle.

The Swedish transport administration and Volvo are co-financing the project with seven million SEK.


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