As the electric car increases its dominance and the din of the combustion engine fades away, we’re likely to be left with a new problem: silence.
Without noise to signal their presence, cars become creepers, putting the safety of everyone else on the road at risk. It’s a very real problem, and one that lawmakers are trying to solve by forcing manufacturers to artificially make their vehicles generate fake engine noises.
However, instead of forcing Teslas and their ilk to conduct a simulacra of the 20th century's urban cacophony, Marta Santambrogio from the Fuzzy Logic Project has a more elegant solution: turn vehicles into instruments.
The thinking behind it is that by retrofitting vehicles (cars, bikes, rickshaws, etc.) to play pre-programmed musical parts as their motors move, their sounds would combine with those of the vehicles around them, creating a sort of haphazard symphony. The result wouldn't just be nice to listen to (come to think of it, it mightn't even be nice to listen to); it would take advantage of the fact that music produces high states of alertness in the human brain. A win-win.
Right now the idea is more of an art project than it is a seriously considered endeavour by the big auto titans, but who knows, in a few years peak hour traffic may just end up sounding like Gary Numan's Cars. We wouldn't complain.