More environmentally friendly cars aren’t so friendly to the pedestrians around them, considering that they’re quieter than a Miata seller when you ask about the rust. Automakers are turning to fake noise because of that, and Mercedes has Linkin Park helping it come up with sounds for its AMG cars to make.
Um, what? Linkin Park helping with the creative direction of car noises? This is all a little too weird.
From Mercedes-AMG CEO Tobias Moers’ interview with Wheels, it seems like the band is just there to be there for now. Wheels reports that their role is still unknown with AMG’s sounds, one of the few projects they’ve announced since their lead singer, Chester Bennington, committed suicide. Those projects don’t, however, include a tour with a hologram of Bennington. That was just a rumor.
“You know Linkin Park?” [Moers] asked. “I started to talk with these guys about what is their interpretation of electrified sound.
“We’ve had a cooperation with Linkin Park for years. We’re really close.”
Using a rock band to help decide the future of car sounds doesn’t get any less odd the more you read it, but these kinds of decisions are coming up. Hybrid and electric technologies tend to be much quieter than internal combustion engines, which makes them both dangerous to pedestrians at low speeds and a bit boring in terms of sound. That means cars have to make some kind of noise, and rather than feeding fake engine noise through electric and hybrid vehicles, a lot of car companies are going the branding route by creating a “sound of the future.”
Good thing it’s still possible to hear when your eyes are rolled all the way into the back of your head, or else no one would be around to know what the future sounds like.
While Nissan chose to make its future electric cars “sing” in a way that sounds more like aliens beaming down onto the earth to abduct us all, Mercedes-AMG told Wheels it hasn’t decided which route to go with electric sound yet: imitating combustion engines or creating an entirely new sound.
But no matter where the company goes with this, remember that Linkin Park had a say in it. From Wheels:
Quite how the band will influence a high-performance vehicle’s sound remains to be heard, but the band’s input will be a small part of a much larger project involving other audio and aural authorities, said Moers.
“We started off years ago. We established a team doing artificial sound and we worked together with games specialists, we worked together with film artists doing sound for films. ...”
In other words, the future is one big Tron movie with a Terminator plot line. Yep, that sounds about right.