Show car for the Detroit Auto Show 2011: smart personal sounds: Hearing is believing

Jan 10, 2011
Sindelfingen – This smart fortwo has a truly unique voice. Showcasing its smart personal sounds concept car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, smart is demonstrating how fortwo drivers can use sounds to personalise their vehicles even further. For example, when drivers apply the handbrake or operate the windscreen wipers, they will hear a sound that they personally selected. As with mobile phone ring tones, customers could download these sounds online and install them in their smart fortwo.
Even now there are barely two smarts that look exactly alike. But for an even greater degree of individualisation, drivers of the popular smart cars may be able to choose personal sounds as well in future: the smart personal sounds concept produces individual sounds in response to specific driver actions. These small MP3 sound files are freely programmable and interchangeable. For example, having had the doors open to the sounds of a Doors guitar riff, a driver might decide that he or she would like to be greeted by Joe Cocker's guttural growl in future. In the same way, for instance, an independent sound profile could be created for the light switches, indicators or heated rear windows. It is conceivable that these sounds could be available for downloading online in the same way as mobile phone ring tones are.
The technical implementation for the concept car is based on the fact that many of the actions performed by the driver and the vehicle activate signals in the internal vehicle communication system. With smart personal sounds, a predefined selection of these signals will be read out and linked with the sound files via a special software. When an action is performed, the allocated sound is sent to the smart fortwo's audio unit and can be heard via the vehicle's loudspeakers.
The original idea for smart personal sounds came from the young employees in the CAReer trainee program, who were given the task of describing and developing an innovative business idea. CAReer is Daimler's group-wide programme aimed at providing practical experience for university graduates and career newcomers. It prepares participants for later specialisations and for possible managerial functions.