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Sound generator for a driving simulator

 

Among users of driving simulators, a number of sound properties are of interest, for example the influence of power train sound on perceived comfort, monotonous sound as a factor in driver drowsiness, and spatial properties of warnings to enhance their efficiency. To meet these needs a software, the ViP Simulator Sound Renderer - SIREN, has been created to facilitate the generation and playback of audio signals in driving simulators. The developed software is platform independent, open source based, and versatile enough to fulfil the needs of different users and various applications. SIREN uses existing playback techniques at the ViP partners as well as novel techniques developed during the course of the project. Sound from sources such as the powertrain, tire/road interaction, surrounding traffic, and infotainment and driver assistance systems can be simulated.


SIREN is a modular, scalable program with a plug-in-based infrastructure. The included plug-ins offer sound file playback, sound stream playback and spatialization possibilities. Required additional functionality can be added by creating custom plug-ins. SIREN by default relies on the OpenAL library for spatialization and on Csound for sound stream generation. Other spatialization and generation software can be used by replacing the corresponding API modules.


SIREN has been implemented in several VTI simulators and, together with some local customization, in the simulator at Volvo Trucks. The current sound models implemented through SIREN consist of real-time synthesis of sound based on measurements performed in real vehicles (car and truck) on the Volvo test track. The resulting sound has been validated through corresponding measurements performed inside the simulator cabins as well as through informal listening by experienced drivers.


The large benefit of SIREN is the way it allows for continuous improvement of the sound environment. To add the sound of a completely new vehicle, all that is needed are recordings of a number of driving cases (measurements of vehicle speed, engine torque, speed of revolution) from which a sound model can be created and implemented into the existing software, hence minimizing the effort. The properties of existing vehicle models may also be easily changed, through updating on the fly by the use of real time synthesis, when developing new or altered models. Additionally, SIREN allows accounting for continuous variation of scenario parameters (such as road surface texture) in the sound presented to the driver, thereby increasing realism through for example perception of velocity.


The relatively easy sound model expansion in the project has allowed additions of for example a very realistic road noise model and the sound environment in an electric car. Plans for further model developments include a model for a hybrid diesel-electric heavy truck and a model of noise reduction after grinding a worn asphalt road surface.

 

 

Project manager: Anders Genell, VTI, +46 (0)31 750 26 11

 

Project partners: VTI, Volvo Technology, Volvo Trucks, Volvo Cars, Scania, HIQ and Saab Automobile

 


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