Nissan has created a world-first lullaby specifically designed for electric vehicles to help parents send their young children to sleep, in the absence of the sleep-inducing frequencies produced by internal combustion engines.
[dropcap]D[/dropcap]esigned in collaboration with Sound Designer and Sleep Coach Tom Middleton, the ‘Dream Drive’ lullaby blends sounds of the Nissan LEAF with frequencies produced by a humming combustion engine to create a hypnotic soundscape to help send young children to sleep in the car.
Over half (51%) of UK parents use ‘dream driving’ – the act of setting out in the car specifically to get a child to sleep – with two thirds (62%) doing this once a week.*
Parents spend an average of between 20 and 25 minutes on a ‘dream drive’, with the average distance covered on a single outing being around five miles. Not only do these trips produce additional carbon emissions (around 70kg of CO2 per family per year**), but the annual fuel bill of all ‘dream driving’ parents in the UK is estimated to be more than £33.5 million. ***
Around 70% of parents believe it’s the movement of the vehicle that sends their child to sleep, but research reveals the soothing sound frequencies of internal combustion engines are also a major contributor to children nodding off in the car.
As increasing numbers of drivers switch to zero-emission electric vehicles – with 70% of parents now wanting to be good environmental role models for their children – Nissan identified a challenge to ensure parents can still utilize the ‘dream drive’ technique to get their child to sleep, without the carbon cost of a combustion engine.
According to expert Paul Speed-Andrews, Noise and Vibration development manager at Nissan; “Although an electric vehicle like the Nissan LEAF is a more environmentally considerate choice for ‘dream driving’; the quiet soundscape of an EV might not be as effective as internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. Combustion engines transmit a sound frequency, a combination of white, pink and brown noise varied in tone – creating an orchestral soundscape that is especially soothing and comforting to young children.”
In collaboration with Sound Designer and Sleep Coach Tom Middleton, Nissan has dreamt up the Nissan LEAF ‘Dream Drive’, the world’s first ‘zero-emission lullaby’. Made up of five three-minute tracks, the soundscape mimics the peaceful audio frequencies of a humming combustion engine, but without the carbon cost.
Tom and Nissan’s engineers identified the differences between EV and combustion vehicles through simulated drives and frequency visualisations. This enabled them to pinpoint what sounds and frequencies send babies and young children to sleep. The findings were that combustion engines emit a wider range of ‘hypnotic’ frequencies compared to EVs.
A combustion engine creates a complex mix of sound waves, frequencies and harmonic overtones (higher notes), generated by the sound of the engine, tyres on the road and air moving around the car.
These sounds are similar to the frequencies in a string orchestra, generating a mixture of white, pink and brown noise frequencies.
Ari Peralta, an interdisciplinary researcher, analysed data captured by Nissan to identify the white, pink and brown noise frequencies emitted by combustion engines, but which were missing from the Nissan LEAF.
The types of noise frequencies include:
- White Noise – broadly spread across the sound spectrum, including low frequency, midrange, and high frequency sounds
- Pink Noise – louder at the low-frequency end of the spectrum, and softer at the high end
- Brown Noise – even deeper, even stronger, at the low end and without the high frequency sounds of white and pink noise who helped provide insight on the project
Using the data results, Tom Middleton and Ari Peralta recorded all the individual interior and exterior sound effects of a Nissan LEAF and Nissan Qashqai at Nissan Technical Centre Europe in a semi-anechoic chamber. The recordings included all of the elements you may hear on a typical drive, such as:
- Air Conditioning
- Engine start up
- Interior material texture sounds
- Accelerating & decelerating
- On the road live recordings
Combining the recordings, Tom turned the Nissan LEAF and Nissan Qashqai into an orchestra and created a dream drive optimised album, with powerful lulling effects for babies and young children.
The Nissan LEAF ‘Dream Drive’ lullaby captures the frequencies and sounds heard during a journey in a combustion engine vehicle, to ensure the lullaby doesn’t stop, even when the vehicle does.
Parenting expert Elizabeth O’Shea added; “One of the biggest worries new parents have is how to get their baby to sleep. Parents soon realise that taking a drive in the car or ‘dream driving’ is a great way to get a baby or young child to nod off.”
“But how interesting that it’s the sound frequencies of a combustion engine, rather than the movement, that helps children fall asleep. With the 100% electric Nissan LEAF, environmentally aware parents now have a simple, guilt-free solution to gently lull their little ones to sleep.”
Dream driving in a Nissan LEAF could also help make the experience more relaxing for parents. Zero exhaust emissions and the car’s e-Pedal functionality aid in a smoother ride, allowing seamless driving and braking with a single pedal.
In addition, ProPILOT Assist significantly reduces driver stress during highway driving and makes dream driving at night more comfortable and safer. It helps the vehicle maintain a steady speed, keep a safe distance away from other cars and remain within the vehicle lane.
Parents can connect their smartphone to their Nissan LEAF through Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, to enjoy the lullaby available on platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube and Deezer.