Exterior Sounds for Electric Vehicles: An Experiential Engineering Case Study

Wednesday 11/02/2015 13:00 - 14:00
Location: SJ 050
Speaker: Professor Paul Jennings

Paul Jennings is Professor of Experiential Engineering and he also leads WMG's Energy and Electrical Systems research group.

Since 1988 Paul has worked on industry-focused research for a multi-disciplinary department, WMG, at the University of Warwick.

His current work includes leading research on: vehicle electrification, in particular energy management and storage; and user engagement in product and environment design, with a particular focus on automotive and healthcare applications.

This latter work, which he calls experiential engineering, is founded on some long-standing work around automotive sound quality, which will be covered in the talk today.

Evaluating the sound quality of electric vehicles as experienced by listeners outside of the car is a multi-faceted challenge. There are three competing requirements: detectability, for the safety of pedestrians, by alerting them to the imminent approach of a potential danger; portrayal of a positive and appropriate impression of the vehicle brand and type; and, ideally, enhancement of the overall soundscape, negating many of the currently negative aspects of conventional traffic noise.

Drawing on the different backgrounds of a multi-disciplinary team, none of whom has traditional acoustics training, has been found to be beneficial in tackling such a challenge. This talk will discuss the current research at Warwick, introducing the work of the team and their work on electric vehicle sound evaluation, especially based around new methods benefiting from an interactive simulation of virtual environments.

The talk will also include: previous work on target setting for traditional interior automotive sound quality; a discussion on positive soundscapes; and some examples of successful application of experiential engineering in other sectors, notably healthcare.