Soni-Cross: Sonification for electric vehicles to reinforce pedestrian awareness

It is believed that quiet cars nowadays can be a potential danger for pedestrians in the city. There have been concerns raised regarding the potential impact of the low noise levels emitted by these vehicles on overall safety. In addition, the interaction between pedestrians and drivers usually relies on unspoken signals. As cars become automated, the dynamics of this communication will shift considerably.

While there is research on using sonification to enhance a driver’s perception over various parameters in quiet vehicles, there is limited research on the use of sonification, rather than warning sounds, in the external of the vehicle. In this project, we suggest that sonification has the potential to reinforce pedestrian insight into quiet vehicles. We aim to explore and evaluate the effect of applying sonification on quiet vehicles. This will be achieved through the creation of a virtual reality simulation environment.

We conduct research on binaural and 3D audio sonification and we combine our findings and implementations with theoretical constructs and methods from previous quiet vehicle related studies. We explore sound designs and various sonification mappings, as well as, their impact on user’s ability to perceive and locate the vehicle.

The objective of this research is to enhance the ability of pedestrians to perceive and interpret auditory cues in their surroundings, specifically pertaining to vehicles, in order to accurately assess speed, location, and proximity using sonification.

MRes project: 2023 – current, funded by the University of Huddersfield and SYN-ENOSIS  

Researcher: Iason Svoronos Kanavas

Supervisor: Dr Hyunkook Lee

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3D Audio Immersive Experience (3DAIX)