Nissan teamed up with a video game company to improve the cabin sounds of its new models.
Warning sounds that alert you whenever a door is left ajar or a seatbelt is unfastened can be annoying, but a lot of thought goes into the sound design. The warning sounds in Nissan's new models stand out more than most, however. To help communicate warnings to the driver more effectively and give the "voice" of its new models "more personality and character," Nissan's sound engineers have teamed up with Bandai Namco, the developer of classic video games like Pac-Man, Tekken and Taiko Drum Master, to develop warning sounds that give its latest models a distinctive ambiance.
Once Nissan was happy with the new tones, variations were created to reflect the urgency and seriousness of the information being conveyed to the driver.
"We wanted to make it easier to understand the information in the car and provide an emotional tone so that people feel the Nissan brand," says Hiroyuki Suzuki, Nissan's lead engineer for in-car information sound design. "In game development, Bandai Namco's sound creators develop sounds that simulate players' intuitive understanding. We collaborated to create sounds that can help drivers have a similar intuitive understanding, in addition to creating sounds that will become synonymous with Nissan global models."
Like the functional sounds in a video game, cabin alert sounds in cars are designed to convey information without distracting the driver.
These new warning sounds play through a high-quality speaker located close to the driver under the dashboard, making them distinctive from coming from the audio speakers.
"When I got in a car and listened to the sound coming out, I felt the same way I felt when first playing a game I worked on," said Bandai Namco's Takahashi. "Even if the industry is different, that sense of accomplishment when you reach your goal is the same."
In the US, the first Nissan models that will be upgraded with the new warning sounds will be the 2021 Nissan Rogue and Pathfinder. Europe's new Nissan Qashqai, which will be sold as the Rogue Sport in the US, will also benefit from the new warning sounds, as will Japan's Nissan Note. You can hear some samples of the new sounds in a video released by Nissan, and they certainly sound softer than the harsh-sounding old alerts, giving the cabin a calmer ambiance.