Summer makes me nostalgic. It reminds me of the wonderful time that my father took me on a long ride to the south in his old coupe, back in the 70’s, when I was a 4-year-old kid. That car was really brilliant in many aspects. But the trip was tough. In those days, noise, vibration and harshness (NVH)studies were still in their infancy - just like me actually. No wonder everyone in the back seats got motion sick, as the car was practically dancing up and down on the road. And my father got annoyed after a while, because car body vibrations made him tired. Did you know human eyeballs and their muscles are basically a mass-spring system that resonates around 18Hz? Now I do.
On that same trip, I discovered a song that changed my life. Unfortunately the loud road noise partially masked Paul McCartney’s voice, and I had to squeeze my head between the front seats to hear it well. But as of that day, those tunes would remind me of sun and holidays, and they would become loyal company while heading south. Over the years, I have taken many cars on that trip, and several fellow travelers trip. Times have changed.
Of course technology has evolved from tape to mp3. But mainly the improvements for in-vehicle comfort are spectacular, if you think about it. Whereas that old coupe with its 60’s design brought me sweaty and shaken (but not stirred) to my destination, my current family car lets me enjoy a quiet, air-conditioned ride with clear music from optimally positioned, high-performant speakers.
When joining Siemens PLM Software one year ago as automotive marketing manager, I could discover with my own eyes how this evolution could take place. Every day, I see specialists that work on optimizing the next-generation vehicles. I am proud to be part of their team. They use simulation, testing and hybrid engineering technologies to make our cars better, and offer us the driving comfort we experience today. Those are the people that allow me to enjoy my favorite summer music in the best possible conditions, and whistle along.
Being a dad myself now, I see a copy of that boy I used to be in the rear-view mirror. He listens to my music. He does not have to squeeze his head between the front seats any longer. His safety seat would not allow him anyway. What is he thinking? He looks happy and carefree. I secretly hope in 30 years he will say similar things about his trips to the south. “Did you know back in 2015 cars were still primarily driven by noisy internal combustion engines? My father used to work for a company that helped saving the planet by reducing emissions and by supporting the development of new transportation technologies.” Maybe I am dreaming, but that would really make me proud.