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Tokyo show: Nissan sounds off with ‘Canto’

Nissan announces EV sound and details some future tech advances

Nissan logo27 Oct 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON in TOKYO

NISSAN has developed its own sound for its future electric vehicles, with the company debuting the ‘Canto’ synthesised sound at this week’s Tokyo motor show.

Canto, which is Latin for ‘I sing’, has different tones and pitches depending on whether the vehicle is accelerating, slowing down or reversing and kicks in at up to 20 to 30km/h, depending on the market.

The Japanese car-maker developed the artificial sound as an alert for pedestrians and other road users to help avoid accidents caused by the silence of electric vehicle powertrains.

Nissan says it was also designed “to enrich the aural environment of the typical city street” with a “distinct Nissan flair”.

While the sound will be clearly audible, the company says it will not be too annoying to pedestrians and other people in the proximity of the car.

It is not the first time Nissan has developed a system like this. It follows the ‘Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians’ that has been offered on the Leaf EV since its global launch in 2010.

Nissan Motor Company executive vice-president for global marketing and sales, zero-emission vehicles and the battery business, Daniele Schillaci, said Canto falls under Nissan Intelligent Mobility, which is the company’s approach to changing how cars are powered, driven and integrated with society.

“An important element of Nissan Intelligent Mobility is how the vehicle integrates with society, and a crucial component of that is sound,” he said.

“‘Canto’ has been developed to help with pedestrian safety, as well as to provide a distinct Nissan sound – one that is energising and confident, authentic to our brand and representing our unique position in the electrified marketplace.”

Mr Schillaci said Nissan partnered with a specialist company on the sound and added that it will become instantly recognisable as a Nissan vehicle sound.

“We (conducted) research with an external company specialising in sound. We came out with a very good momentum on that also by selecting the name. We give a name to unique EV sounds where you will walk on the street and without turning your head, this is a Nissan.”

Following the Tokyo motor show, Nissan invited journalists to the Nissan Technical Centre in Kanagawa prefecture, south-west of Tokyo, to detail more of its tech advances.

Nissan technicians and engineers detailed the projects they have been working on at one of its 13 development centres around the world, including a closer look at some of the features in the IMx concept that was revealed at the show.

The concept features an augmented reality head-up display and a panoramic rearview mirror that uses cameras in the exterior mirrors and the rearview mirror for a full-width synthesized view out the back.

The new Leaf has a camera rearview mirror option as well but it is not connected to the exterior mirrors.

It also has a Narrow Path Assist system that provides the driver with guidelines on a display to safely drive past an oncoming vehicle on a narrow road, and the system steers the vehicle safely if the driver doesn’t act.

Nissan confirmed that it will have an Alliance Connected Cloud up and running by 2018, with plans for more than 90 per cent of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance vehicles to be connected to the cloud in 2022.

The car-maker is putting a lot of resources into the connected car tech, with 1000 employees across the globe working on development.

Under the connected car plan, Alliance brands will share infotainment hardware in the coming years, meaning the back end of the systems in all brands will be connected. However, the user interface of each brand will have different services and a unique look.

In terms of EV tech, there will be 12 electric models launched across the Alliance and by 2022, 70 per cent of the company’s EVs will be based on the new EV platform.

Nissan is developing technology that will push EV driving range beyond 600km after 2022, and it will roll out a quick charger globally from January next year.

Development is also underway for a wireless EV charging system that will be released in about 2020.

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