Stockholm-based audio and music production company Pole Position Production is joining forces with Volvo Cars and Rise Interactive in a research project to evaluate how sound can influence and enhance user experience in highly automated cars. Pole Position Production will design the soundscape for the test environment used in the project.
“It’s a very interesting project and we were thrilled when Volvo Cars asked if we would like to participate. We have more than 10 years of experience in interactive sound design. This is a great opportunity for us to share our knowledge in a new industry,” said Max Lachmann, founder and co-owner of Pole Position Production.
“The main purpose of the project is to give us new understanding on how sound can be used in the interaction between cars and their users. In the gaming industry, we have been using sound to interact with users for a long time, so this is a natural step for us.”
There are many similarities between designing sound for games and designing sound for a driver’s compartment in a highly automated car.
Linus Anderberg, project coordinator at Pole Position Production, explained, “It’s partly about getting the attention of the user. In games, we use sounds to guide the user in the right direction, toward the goal. In highly automated cars it will be possible to create a customized, dynamic soundscape that continuously provides the user with information – whether it’s that a bike is passing close by or if the car is approaching an interesting historical site. As in games, we will also be able to use sound and music to create a soundscape that influences people’s behavior, mood, emotions and general wellbeing in a positive way.”
A new VR demonstrator that will simulate the experience of being in an automated car will be developed as part of the project. Rise Interactive, an expert in user experience refinement for various products, will evaluate how people feel and react to the sound in the test environment.
The project is scheduled to last for two years and is partly being financed by Vinnova, Sweden’s Innovation Agency.