The Ambience of Sonic Movement

Semcon has been developing solutions for the automotive, life science, telecommunications, energy, and development-intensive industries for over 30 years, blending engineering services with design to bring value to products. Now the Swedish company’s talented design team have revealed another interesting project: Sonic Movement.

Unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt motor show, Sonic Movement is a proposal for a new system of sound for the increasing number of electric vehicles that are hitting the roads. Pioneered by creative director Fernando Ocana and hybrid designer James Brooks — both graduates from the Royal College of Art‘s vehicle design program — in collaboration with music/art duo Holly Herndon and Mathew Dryhurst, the project creates a dialogue around the emergent requirements for electric vehicle sounds and communicates Semcon’s vision to influence technological development from a humanistic approach.

We’ve written about sound being an integral part of design before. As one of the four senses that contribute to the holistic design experience, the auditory experience is an important sensory element that communicates various qualities the end user. It plays as much of a role as the visual and tactile quality of a product’s design.

What Semcon has devised is a system that emits a specific sound for a vehicle, which could effectively transform the urban landscape into a virtual symphony of musical sounds. It is not only an experience mechanism but one that aims to meet a proposed US mandate requiring all vehicles that operate below a certain decibel level to emit a warning sound for pedestrians.

The design team’s vision for these vehicles is far different than what current OEMs have devised, most of which are artificial interpretations of the already familiar sound of combustion engines — a sound which urban areas are currently drowning in. And to be honest, we’ll take the sound of ambient music than the clatter of a diesel taxi any day of the week.


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