The interiors of Mercedes-Benz’s future EQ EVs will become a “multi-sensory experience” with selectable soundscapes and intuitively understood feedback sounds, leveraging software developed in-house.
The auto maker says it is currently running a series of listening tests in a demo EQC to showcase current developments, including selectable soundscapes which can be switched via the car’s MBUX interface. This has so far involved over 120 in-house test subjects, from administrators to top management, who have conducted test drives of the demo vehicle and contributed their impressions to the design process.
The brand highlights that a key element of the soundscape is the driving sound, reproduced by speakers in the interior and varied depending on parameters such as the accelerator position, speed or energy recuperation. It notes that selection of the drive program likewise influences the driving sound, for example, the sounds become more dynamic in Sport mode. These shifts rely on the use of intelligent sound design algorithms to determine the sounds coming from the surround sound system in real time.
The company defines its approach as a “holistic sound concept”, which also includes sounds that give the driver feedback – for example, when the car is unlocked or started. Connecting the charging plug also is accompanied by acoustic feedback but external to the vehicle. For example, the driver can be given an acoustic signal that the charging procedure was successful, and indicating the charge state of the battery.
The algorithms and sounds for the sound design are created in-house and in addition to physicists, its interdisciplinary development team also includes sound designers, media designers and mechatronics specialists. Apparently, many different sound variants and compositions have been tried to date, which have evolved during the development phase, with the company noting that the roots of some sounds date back more than 10 years.