Acoustic Chamber Aids VSP Development

| Environmental Testing

Vehicle Sounds for Pedestrians (VSPs) are an important part of the acoustic signature of fully electric vehicles

They assist pedestrians and other vulnerable road users in their awareness of the proximity and direction of approaching traffic.

All vehicle manufacturers are involved in the development their own acoustic signatures both in terms of VSPs and the internal sound of the car as part of the driving experience.

Renault have been using the talents of artist, songwriter and author, electronica pioneer and technology aficionado Jean-Michel Jarre. He has been working with Renault Group’s sound design teams, to develop two types of sounds for the brand’s future electric vehicles: VSPs and the Welcome sound sequence which plays when you sit in the car.

The French car company worked over a long period with the artist on the development of the sounds for the Zoe as well as the Scenic E-Tech electric vehicles, gaining group approvals in time for the International Motor Show, which was held in Munich in September this year.

The journey to reaching this point started much earlier with Louis-Ferdinand Pardo, a Renault Group Expert in acoustics and life on board, having worked with the acoustics team at Renault when they started developing the first VSPs for the Zoe over a decade earlier.

Choosing the VSP and welcome sounds wasn’t the end of the road for the team though. VSPs need official certification before they can be used in electric vehicles and so the all-important cycle of testing and approval needed to be achieved.

For this, Renault chose global automotive certification and vehicle engineering specialist organisation, UTAC. This was performed in the anechoic chamber at the UTAC vehicle testing facility in Linas-Monthléry, south of Paris.

This was where Louis-Ferdinand Pardo was able to finally breathe a sigh of relief when the verdict came in that the sound that his team had honed with Jean-Michel Jarre and Ircam had received the seal of approval. Despite their earlier approvals success with the Zoe and the group’s extensive experience in acoustics testing, the UTAC approval nonetheless represented an important milestone both for Pardo and Renault.

Now, the group is looking forward to hearing the sounds that Jean-Michel Jarre designed for the Scénic and other models on the streets of Paris and other European cities. The acoustics team at the car company would like this unique sound signature to become a recognisable part of city soundscapes very quickly.

By that time, Jean-Michel Jarre, Ircam’s teams and Renault Group’s teams will be back to work on other projects for the company’s future cars because, as Renault says, the collaboration between the artist and the brand has only just begun.

Jonathan Newell
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