Suggestive Sound Design – How to use Active Interior Sound Design to improve traffic safety



Active sound design becomes an important addition to the newest generation of premium class electrical vehicles to enhance the emotionality of the driving experience. Musicological research indicates that emotions are altered by certain harmonic sets of pitches, whereas results in traffic psychology show that emotions can influence the driving behavior. Despite these findings, there is no research done on how changes to an active vehicle sound could influence the driving behavior.

In this paper, we describe an approach for a suggestive sound design. It’s based on the hypothesis, that the chosen safety distance by a driver could be altered by changing the inherent dissonance of an active interior vehicle sound based on the current safety distance. The suggestive sound design is based on an additive synthesizer utilizing the Shepard-Risset glissando. The sound can be controlled by external signals e.g. CAN signals from real or virtual vehicles.

To verify this hypothesis, a driving simulator was built in which the driving experience with a suggestive sound and the resulting driving behavior can be validated through subject studies within an immersive and reproducible virtual reality environment.

The research aims at improving road safety by influencing the driver through changes in the interior vehicle sound.