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3D sound systems in future cars

Published: 2 November 2016

André Lundkvist, researcher in Engineering Acoustics at Luleå University of Technology, has studied how better placement of sound sources and the use of vibration can increase motorists' driving performance and safety.

In modern cars there are a lot of sensors and electronic devices designed to increase the driver´s comfort and safety. This, along with advanced infotainment systems and navigation systems, gives a rather complex interface, where most of the information is presented visually. Andre Lundkvist want to show with his research, that better use of sound can reduce drivers' workload and stress.

"Sound is effective in capturing our attention, but sometimes we can have a hard time determining where a sound is coming from. In order to create a good interface for sound, I have among other things focused on placement of loudspeakers, sound design, algorithms for creating virtual 3D sound and complemented with vibrations. In this way, a warning sound can also indicate the direction to the danger", says André Lundkvist.

Regardless of where a sound comes from, we tend to hear the sound with both ears, which can cause problems when creating 3D sound. This can be remedied by filtering out certain requencies, and in combination with directional sound from loudspeakers placed in the headrest or above the driver provides better control over the experienced 3D sound and the wanted effect.

"My results look promising, and I hope to develop this further in my future research", says André Lundkvist.

3D sound enables placement of sound sources anywhere in the room, 360 degrees all around, and at different distances. Stereo or surround can in comparison only place sound sources in a limited area, and lacks especially the potential of varying the distance to the sound sources.