Yeah, Too Quiet

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
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yeah too quiet

A new report from Brunel University's Driving Research Laboratory [UK] suggests that older cars provide more safety-enhancing sensory feedback than new cars, and that's a bad thing. "Cars provide timely ‘informal chatter’ such as engine noise and road noise, which keeps us attentive and informed of our situation on the road," posits the appropriately named Dr. Guy Walker. "If this feedback is removed through car design innovations, the whole nature of driving could change completely, potentially putting lives at risk.” Yes, well, the methodology used to reach this more-is-less conclusion involved just ten drivers using their own vehicles. "Drivers provided a concurrent verbal commentary as they drove around a defined 14 mile on-road test route, from motorways to residential streets. Analysis of the verbal commentary provided over sixteen thousand data points which were analysed in reference to the concept of situational awareness (SA)." Perhaps an analysis of the relative accident rates of an old S-class vs. a new model would have provided more relevant data. Or not.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Biturbo Biturbo on Oct 18, 2007

    I want to hear my engine, it's music to my ears. I also want to hear my tires, they tell me about their adhesion/grip. I want to hear what is going around me in traffic. That's why I would never buy a coffin-on-wheels Lexus.

  • Glenn Swanson Glenn Swanson on Oct 18, 2007

    The sounds of a car are an interesting topic. The engineeers in Ohio who worked on the current Civic Si engine air intake system used their ears, and a computer to "tune" its sound. They ended up ducting the intake air in via the front fender well to take advantage of resonances found inside the fender. From the San Diego Union-Tribune: Acoustic Alchemy "Small team of engineers perform some magic, give new Civic Si a sporty growl" ...small team of engineers believed that sound would give the car an edge over the competition. So Honda gave the engineers leeway to enhance the acoustics of the Civic Si's intake and exhaust modules... That's called sweating the details.

  • Kansei Kansei on Oct 18, 2007

    Alright, thanks for the article. That totally justifies some coilovers and pillow ball mounts everywhere! who´s with me!?!

  • Robert Farago Robert Farago on Oct 18, 2007


    who´s with me!?!

    I'm right behind you. As always.