Innovation That Matters

Start-up develops app which gives cars ears

Travel & Tourism

AudioHound sound recognition software can be used to monitor a car’s mechanical health and environmental surroundings.

Car owners who aren’t in tune with their vehicle’s clunks and squeaks will eventually be able to install software that listens to mechanical sound for them. A new start-up OtoSense is developing the AudioHound app, which currently runs in prototype-form on tablets but the company hopes to license to car manufacturers with a means of building it into the car’s internal technology.

The idea is that it will be able to hear every distinct sound a car makes, from engine revs to clutch shifts, and will know if something’s not right. Often getting defective parts fixed early can be much cheaper (and safer) for the customer, plus the software is said to be so advanced it can even detect general wear and tear over time by tiny subtle audio changes.

The other main use for AudioHound is listening to what’s going on outside the vehicle. Microphones would be placed to listen to the exterior, so it could detect emergency services vehicles, listen to the road surface noise – it could contribute significantly towards advances in self-drive cars.

It’s not the only automobile feedback innovation we’ve seen lately, with Pirelli’s smart tires informing users of tire condition. And driverless cars are starting to get closer to a pragmatic reality, with Adrian Flux offering insurance specifically for the mode of transport. The applications for such advanced artificially hearing are endless – what other areas of day-to-day life could be improved with such tech?



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