First there were ringtones; thousands of bits of music which made every cell phone ring unique and distinguishable from every other. Now, in an effort to insure pedestrian safety, nearly soundless electric vehicles from Audi in the R8 e-tron model line will also get their very own signature sound, thanks to a control unit that initiates sounds based on signals from the vehicle and a loudspeaker that transmits the sounds.
Called Audi e-sound, the melodies (?) are created by acoustic engineer Rudolf Halbmeir, whose workstation includes a digital piano instead of a printer, and two very high-end speakers connected to his computer monitor. But Halbmeir isn’t rocking out to the daily grind. He’s developing “car sounds” ranging from low-range frequencies that subconsciously telegraph power and composure, to the middle ranges, which deliver an impression of quickness and speed.