Department of Communication Design Science, Faculty of Design
Associate Professor Yamauchi Katsuya
In this research laboratory, the field of study is the evaluation and design of sound. Within this field, the recent main target issue is the sound environment around automobiles in the future.
Currently, the automotive industry is said to be in the midst of once-in-a-century innovation, and the mechanics, functions, and social meanings of automobiles are all expected to change dramatically. Within these changes, the acoustic impact of electrification is one that’s not difficult to imagine. When conventional internal combustion engines are replaced with electric motors, this will drastically reduce the drive train noise, one of the major components of driving noise, causing dramatic changes in the acoustics both inside and outside of automobiles. In other words, they will be quieter. However, further research is needed to determine exactly how much quieter. On the other hand, there is also demand for automotive devices specifically designed to produce sound due to concerns electric vehicles are too quiet.
Automotive reform is not limited to electrification alone. Through other changes such as automated driving and shared usage (sharing) services, the social meaning of automobiles is going through major changes, and the demands on acoustic design are likely to change as well. The sound of the information user interface inside the cabin must have functionality to ensure the meaning is understood appropriately while also using a design which avoids becoming annoying for the user. For the driving sound, a creative design that fulfills safety and drivability needs while expressing a novel and attractive atmosphere is needed.
At this research laboratory, we keep carrying out research for sound design through processes such as measurement of the physical aspects of sound, evaluation of its psychological aspects, and assessment of both traditional research methods and new design approaches. (We also work in fields other than automobiles.)