Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

SoundRacer puts some big sound in a small package

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March 7, 2013

The RC car fitted with SoundRacer's Electric Vehicle Sound Module, EVSM-2

The RC car fitted with SoundRacer's Electric Vehicle Sound Module, EVSM-2

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Having already given the tamest of family cars a hefty dose of testosterone – at least auditorily – Swedish company SoundRacer looks set to turn up the volume of electric vehicles – this time on the outside. Having garnered interest from several electric car and scooter manufacturers, the company decided to demonstrate its system at CeBIT by making some big noise with an RC car.

While many appreciated the lack of a roaring engine when hybrids and electric vehicles first started appearing on the roads, it quickly became apparent the near silence of such vehicles could pose a risk to pedestrians. This led to Toyota selling an audible warning system for retrofitting on its third generation Prius vehicles in 2010 and Infiniti announcing its M35h would become the first hybrid to feature an audible warning system as standard in mid-2011.

Such systems are now commonplace and are set to become compulsory in many countries in the near future. While some existing systems emit horn beeps, most mimic the sound of an internal combustion engine. With SoundRacer having some experience in this area, the Swedish company has thrown its hat into the ring in the form of its Electric Vehicle Sound Module, EVSM-2.

Aimed at EV manufacturers, the EVSM-2 can be customized to provide different engine sounds, including the sound profiles proposed by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The unit can be turned on and off or the volume adjusted at will, and gives a realistic sound impression indicating whether the vehicle is idling, accelerating, decelerating or cruising.

The RC car was fitted with a real size weather protected 25 W speaker and 20 W amplifier

To give EV manufacturers a taste of what to expect from its unit, SoundRacer headed to CeBIT, which is currently underway in Hanover, Germany. Since showing a full-sized EV would have made their booth a bit cramped, the team decided to fit the device to an RC car, along with a real size weather protected 25 W speaker, 20 W amplifier, and a Hall effect speed sensor the registers speed information from two magnets attached to the rear wheel.

The results can be seen – and heard – in the video below.

Source: SoundRacer

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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6 Comments

There used to be an anti-lock brake system that sensed the resistance being applied to each of the front wheels and only applied the anti-locking system to the wheel with most resistance, leaving the other wheel to lock up. Steering was obviously maintained by the anti-locked wheel and pedestrian safety automatically provided by the squeal emanating from the locked wheel. That was in the days before electric vehicles rose to the prominence they have today and it is perhaps time to look at it again.

I'll settle for the above instead of having the peace ruined by a bunch of middle-aged children deluding themselves that this system is of any value what-so-ever.

Mel Tisdale
8th March, 2013 @ 06:15 am PST

Those tiny electric motors still whine higher than any fake noise added.

Why not try to silence them with some noise cancellation, and then run in real stealth mode.

Bob Flint
8th March, 2013 @ 09:13 am PST

Very cool! Now lets please have one for Electric RC helicopters and planes.

Joe Sobotka
8th March, 2013 @ 09:47 am PST

Cool---and pretty funny---put a smile on my face. Yes, still hear the same old whine of the E-motor, but still neat.

Gregory Gannotti
8th March, 2013 @ 11:29 am PST

LOL - and everyone missed the point.

The point was not to have an RC car with a big-car sound, but rather to demonstrate, with something that was small enough to put in the hall, a way to let EVs be HEARD. I've been surprised by them while riding my bike - didn't hear it at all over the normal noises (wind, mostly) and it startled the poop outta me!

socalboomer
8th March, 2013 @ 03:56 pm PST

funglestrumpet - by the time the driver has to step on the brakes it is probably too late for a warning sound. And the idea was to illustrate the digital engine sound technology in a fun way, not to suggest that electric vehicles should have the sound of a roaring V8. We have more sophisticated engine sounds for EVs that will alert people that it is a real car coming up behind them.

Kenneth Palmestål
10th March, 2013 @ 02:33 pm PDT
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