Case Study:
Nissan

the big picture

Electric and Autonomous vehicles are naturally silent, which helps to actively decrease noise pollution on our streets, but poses a threat to pedestrians. Now there are new international regulations requiring EVs to make sound, creating an interesting quandary for marketing and R&D alike: what should the future of our roads sound like? How can we solve for the sound of safety? How can we design a sound that will better the airways of our city streets?

Made Music Studio partnered with Nissan, to develop Canto, the sound of Nissan’s new fleet of EVs. The development of Canto, as a core dimension of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, was a push forward by the brand into a new and innovative approach to how vehicles of the future will be powered, driven, and integrated into society.

Canto or Italian for “I Sing” is the sound of Nissan’s future fleet of electric vehicles. This demonstration of the vehicles’ new soundscapes starts with the reverse alert before transitioning to the “engine” acceleration and deceleration, painting an image of the roadways of the future.

Our mantra with electric vehicles is zero emissions, which of course applies to the exhaust of the vehicles, but we wanted to carry that forward into the sound…Between meeting the regulation, providing a brand sound and meeting our zero emissions objective – it was quite a challenge for Made Music.

– Nic Thomas, Global Director EV, Nissan

the challenge

Made Music Studio was tasked with crafting the proprietary sound of Nissan’s future fleet of electric vehicles which would capture Nissan’s spirit of innovation, fulfill international regulations, and respond to the automaker’s “Zero Emissions” value as it applies to EVs. Through collaborative working sessions with cross-cultural and cross-departmental stake holders, Made Music crafted a unique sonic design that struck a balance between these complex and occasionally conflicting requirements.

the approach

Made Music Studio’s creative team developed a new approach to the work through sonic prototyping. A spectrum of sonic palettes exploring a range of organic and electronic sounds were created and tested using a pedal that simulated the relationship between the physical acceleration and deceleration of the vehicle and the subsequently generated audio. Made Music Studio also incorporated its proprietary research capability, SonicPulse®, to ensure we delivered a bespoke sonic solution for Nissan’s electric fleet that hit key metrics for awareness, emotional appeal and brand attribution.

the results

Nissan further iterated Canto in the years since first developing the sound with Made Music Studio. In 2021, Nissan integrated an evolution of the original Canto into their new Nissan Leaf fleet — the sounds of our city streets may never be the same.

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