The inimitable Richard Watson has come up with what just might be a big (and unanticipated) market: car engine sound downloads.
Richard’s fantastic Nowandnext.com bulletins are now openly available after long being a subscription-only service, used by many of the leading creative agencies around the world. To read the latest issue, go to Nowandnext.com and click on the Orange “Current Issue” button at the top left to read the latest bulletin.
What just caught my attention was his article ‘Why we don’t want a quiet drive’ in the Automotive and Transport section, reproduced below.
Certainly electric car engineers have long been aware that cars being too quiet is a significant safety issue. And yes, absolutely, car sounds are personal statements. The sound of a Alfa Sprint (which I greatly enjoyed driving when I owned one) or a Bugatti motorcycle, for example, are unmistakeable.
When you start to need to make a car noisier than it is mechanically, the range of driving sounds will become infinite. You will be able to choose from the sound of any vintage car you wish, or use an entirely new sound, including those of various types of UFOs, choo-choo trains, or chanting monks.
Of course this market is a little way from taking off big time. And it’s possible that there will be regulation on what are acceptable car sounds. However in that case there should also be regulation on acceptable mobile phone ringtones, something almost everyone would agree on :-).
Why we don’t want a quiet drive
For anyone who was looking forward to the pleasant, gentle hum of electric/hybrid cars in place of the throaty roar of internal combustion engines, here is some bad news. The future is something called “synthesised engine noises”. Believe it or not, people want cars to sound like cars and – worse still – quiet cars have been found to be unsafe. Nobody hears them coming.