The vision is an almost cyborg-like car, with features closely linked to the driver.
(TNS) -- Barreling down steep Leavenworth Street in San Francisco, Ryan Ayler sped up his Hyundai Ioniq, causing the music on its stereo to get both louder and faster. As he made a sharp left turn, the music balance switched more to speakers on the right, the side encountering the most wind resistance.
“The car is becoming the ultimate wearable,” said Jonathon Keats, who was riding shotgun. “The driver is in a synchronized hybrid state with it; the car is giving constant feedback.”
Keats, a self-described artist and philosopher in San Francisco, worked with Ayler, a Hyundai engineer, to wire up a concept car called the Roadable Synapse, to be shown this week at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Art & Technology Lab. He hopes to find exhibit spots in the Bay Area and elsewhere for the car and a video about it.
His vision is an almost cyborg-like car, with features closely linked to the driver. The Roadable Synapse’s stereo sound is controlled by the driver’s actions. The music tempo gets faster as the car accelerates, while the volume increases in sync with the engine’s revolutions per minute. Inefficient driving or nonoptimal fuel use results in distorted music that sounds glitchy. Airflow, measured by anemometers mounted on the car’s left and right sides, dictates the speaker balance.
The idea is to show ways cars might evolve in the future — especially if the future doesn’t involve self-driving cars. Robot cars aren’t a foregone conclusion, Keats said. But even if they don’t come to pass, cars will continue to go through huge transformations.
The idea could have some practical implications. “People want to be more in tune with their cars,” Keats said. “Increased awareness can lead to safer driving.”
The project explores an interesting intersection between art and technology, said John Suh, vice president of Hyundai Ventures, the car company’s venture capital arm, which gave Keats a grant of money and engineering time.
“Instead of art that’s in a gallery on a wall, it’s art you sit inside,” he said. “As you drive, you are dynamically part of that creative process.”
Neuroscience could trigger a way for cars to become “a cognitive and emotional extension of ourselves ... a physically and mentally unified man-machine hybrid,” said Keats, who resembles a more buttoned-down version of another car-obsessed inventor, Dr. Emmett Brown in “Back to the Future.”
In future experiments, other aspects of the car might affect the driver. A low gas tank or battery, for example, might produce a rumbling noise like a hungry stomach.
“Los Angeles has such a car culture of people who really savor the experience of driving,” said Joel Ferree, program director of the Art & Tech Lab. “This project expands that idea of what if you want to keep driving and have even more of a connection with your vehicle. It’s great that we’re debuting it in Los Angeles.”
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