Vroom, vroom: Automakers work with BlackBerry's QNX to develop synthetic engine sounds

TORONTO – For car lovers, there is just something about a revving engine that gets the blood moving faster.

Now automakers can capitalize on that feeling by teaming with a division of BlackBerry that is developing a technology that replicates the sound of yesteryear’s driving experience, even as cars become quieter and more fuel efficient.

Ottawa-based QNX Software Systems — which was acquired by BlackBerry (TSX:BB) nearly four years ago — has debuted a couple of concept cars at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

One is a modified Kia Soul that showcases a new technology called “engine sound enhancement.” In its most basic form, it is a soundtrack that plays a simulation of the engine both inside the car and for people on the outside.

QNX sales and marketing vice-president Derek Kuhn says it’s aimed at customers who want a car that is better for the environment but still maintains its a sporty feel.

QNX says the technology offers a preview of what’s to come in the next five years for the automotive industry. After the Consumer Electronics Show, QNX plans to take the technology on the road to various auto shows across North America this year.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.