The hearing sense of vehicles

Potentials of the technical reproduction of the human hearing in vehicles

The vehicle of the future must be able to hear. The sounds that surround our vehicles on the road provide important information about the current traffic situation, the weather and road conditions as well as other road users. The acoustics inside the vehicles are constantly being optimized to increase the driver's comfort, but this means that important external sounds are perceived less clearly. Perceiving or not perceiving these sounds can have a significant impact on the driving style and thus become a safety risk.

The solution to this problem is a technical reproduction of the human hearing in vehicles. One exemplary use case is the siren of an emergency vehicle, to which the driver has to react according to the situation. The listening vehicle can support the driver in such a situation with additional information and recommendations for action. In addition, the progressive automation of vehicles makes it essential to record all acoustic signals. From SAE Level 3 on, the driver fully delegates the decisive driving tasks to the vehicle and only has to intervene when the system requests it. For this reason, automated or autonomous vehicles must be able to detect warning signals on all sensory levels and react to them.

The development is based on various holistic approaches: From signal acquisition and sophisticated signal processing techniques to the deduction of the suitable reaction. The prototypical implementations of the various use cases always meet the requirement of being transferable to the established development process.


Olaf Uszynski M.Sc.
Group Leader Acoustics
+49 241 80 25615

Project duration

09/2017 – 11/2022

Project partner

fka GmbH


Institute for Automotive Engineering
RWTH Aachen University
Steinbachstraße 7
52074 Aachen · Germany
+49 241 80 25600

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