In August, Roland Corporation and electric car manufacturer GLM Co., Ltd. announced plans for a ‘car synth’ – described as a ‘neo-futuristic driving sound generation system’ for GLM’s electric cars.
Because electric cars are so quiet, manufacturers are adding electronically generated sound effects, for safety and aesthetic reasons. The driving sound system for GLM’s ZZ model, above, will be implemented using Roland’s SuperNATURAL synthesizer technology. The car’s synthesized sounds are modulated in real-time, based on driving situations like acceleration, deceleration, and motor load variances on sloping roads.
The promise of a Roland synthesizer engine being in automobiles – and the fact that the sound of electric cars doesn’t need to be tied to the sound of a physical engine – made us wonder if this could become a new platform for sound designers and synthesists.
Sound Synthesis For Electric Cars
We asked Roland about this and this is what we were told:
“The Roland US folks checked with the team in Japan to see where things stand, regarding your question. Japan said they actually received many similar questions when they held a press event in Tokyo a few months back.
While they are interested in some of the possibilities to utilize their EV sound system using their technology, they don’t yet have any firm plans that can be publicly shared yet.
It’s common for people to load different sound profiles for their computers or to load custom ringtones for mobile devices. It’s not too much of a stretch to think that you could create customizable ‘sound profiles’ for cars.
While Roland’s official response doesn’t offer any insight into their future plans for their automotive synthesis platform, it’s clear that there’s interest from sound designers.