Mercedes Benz and will.i.am unveil futuristic technology that turns your car into a musical instrument
- Black Eyed Peas founder will.i.am debuts Sound Drive technology at CES 2024
Nothing beats the experience of powering down the highway in your car with the speakers blaring out your favourite tunes.
But often the music doesn't match up to the moments of the drive – whether it's the chorus kicking in when you hit the accelerator or steady beats breaking up the monotony of the motorway.
Now, a solution has come from an unlikely source – will.i.am, the entrepreneur and musician best known as the founder of the Black Eyed Peas.
He's partnered with German car maker Mercedes Benz on futuristic in-car software called Sound Drive that 'turns your car into a musical instrument'.
When the driver accelerates, brakes or turns, the software reacts to create new sounds or remix existing tunes, making the driver 'the conductor' and the car 'the orchestra'.
The technology, known as Sound Drive, allows music to react to the way the car is being driven, turning it into a virtual musical instrument
The musician – also known in the UK for appearances on ITV show The Voice – presented his technology at CES 2024, the electronics tradeshow in Las Vegas this week.
'Imagine a world where your car can become an instrument creating musical journeys,' he said.
'Sound Drive enhances driving and sound technology, letting motorists reshape music just by driving.
'Sound Drive is not only a new frontier for music creation, but also opens up fresh, exciting and interactive listening experiences for drivers.'
Although not released until mid-2024, Sound Drive will be available on the infotainment system of multiple Mercedes Benz electric vehicles.
It uses an array of sensors in the car, including within the engine, to alter music on the sound system when it detects various 'driving dynamics'.
These are movements – such as acceleration, steering and braking – and are converted into 'musical expressions', allowing the driver to become the DJ in real-time, Mercedes Benz claims.
The musician, best known as founder of the Black Eyed Peas, presented his technology at CES 2024 this week
Sound Drive uses an array of sensors in the car, including within the engine, to alter music on the sound system when it detects various 'driving dynamics'
Although the software is yet to be released to the public, Sound Drive would be available on the infotainment system of multiple Mercedes Benz cars
According to will.i.am, Sound Drive can both 'create new works' and 'reimagine classics' for motorist to drive to.
So not only does it create fresh noises to make new music that is 'conducted by the road', but it also remixes existing tracks – for example, the Black Eyed Peas’ 'I’ve Got A Feeling' – by getting them to respond to driving.
Different driving dynamics affect the song in different ways; for example, the more the driver puts their put down on the accelerator, the louder the song gets.
The technology is also capable of syncing with other in-car ‘signals’, Mercedes Benz said.
One example could be the windscreen rain sensors that provide 'soothing rhythms' during bad weather to reduce stress and enhance concentration.
Naturally, safety concerns will arise from such a technology that could make drivers more preoccupied by music than they are with their surroundings.
MailOnline has contacted Mercedes Benz for comment.
The musician says: 'I'm excited to see how composers, producers, and songwriters will harness this to create new works and reimagine classics for motorist to drive to'
Advanced software allows music to react to the way the car is being driven, turning it into a 'virtual musical instrument'
Musicians have long taken inspiration from their cars and the experience of driving to create new music, although with Sound Drive will.i.am has taken it to new levels.
For example, the basis for the Bee Gees' 1975 hit 'Jive Talking' was the sound the band's car made while it was crossing the Julia Tuttle Causeway in Florida.
Meanwhile, German group Kraftwerk used synthesizers to mimic the experience of driving down the motorway on their 1974 album 'Autobahn'.
On their fifth album, Arctic Monkeys also manipulated the drums to get a hip-hop-style beat that sounded particularly satisfying in a car.
Mercedes Benz said the long-term goal with Sound Drive is to turn the technology into an open music platform, so artists are composing as they're driving.
Say goodbye to range anxiety! Mercedes unveils a futuristic electric car that it claims can drive 466 miles on a single charge
German automobile maker Mercedes-Benz thinks it can put range anxiety to bed with its new vehcile.
Measuring more than 15 feet long, the low emissions four-door sedan also has panoramic windows, expansive glass roof and low energy lights.
The German carmaker claims its new concept vehicle 'blends aesthetics with masterful engineering'
It's been made with 'more sustainable' materials including biotechnology-based fabric, bamboo fibre and reduced emissions steel and aluminum.
- ^ go 0-60 in under 3 seconds (www.dailymail.co.uk)
- ^ Jonathan Chadwick For Mailonline (www.dailymail.co.uk)
- ^ TechCrunch (techcrunch.com)
- ^ more preoccupied by music than they are with their surroundings (www.dailymail.co.uk)
- ^ more than Tesla cars (www.dailymail.co.uk)
- ^ prototypes from the company (www.dailymail.co.uk)