Scooter audio signals get renewed
November 6, 2022
The most significant and complex situations on the path of a Whoosh scooter have been marked with simple and intuitive audio signals. The developers decided to weave the signals on scooters into the sound image of the city without creating additional noise, yet informing a rider, for example, that a slow speed zone is about to start.
The Whoosh developers concluded that voicing the actions of a scooter makes its control more reliable and predictable. More than 20 situations faced by a person riding a scooter got linked to a range of simple and understandable sounds. For example, a scooter gives a signal when it enters a low-speed zone or before it stops once entering the No Traffic Zone. Even in the event of theft, the scooter now makes a very unpleasant sound that will let the thief know that stealing is bad.

Each scooter is equipped with its own Whoosh IoT module (IoT stands for Internet of Things), which allows the tech team to download a new library of sounds to all 85 thousand Whoosh scooters remotely.
The technical team analyzed the interaction between a person and a scooter and identified 22 situations when a particular status of the vehicle should be reported to a rider. Now it is easier to find the scooter in the parking lot by a cheerful welcome signal. The scooter will report the start and the end of the trip, the entry and exit from the slow speed zone, and notify the rider of the scooter preparing to stop when entering the areas restricted to vehicles.

During the study, the Whoosh tech crew discovered that the voice notifications reporting the scooter status were inconvenient for both the rider and those around. The voice of the scooter would blend with other voices in the city and could be misinterpreted in critical situations. It is also inconvenient to send text messages through the scooter application since the user would need to stop and dismount to read them. A short and intuitive beep is identified by a person as the voice of the system and can be interpreted at once.

The audio branding agency SoundDesigner.Pro developed a unique sound identity for Whoosh. New scooter signals are not only informative but also emotional; sounding perky, fun, and intuitive. The service deliberately moved away from the dull robotic sounds commonly used on electronic devices towards a more lively and meaningful sound.

The device built into the scooter is a piezoelectric emitter also called a buzzer. The frequency range of the buzzer is significantly limited, so the device can only play a few simple sounds. To animate the sound, the working group conducted a series of studies, and the audio branding agency developed unique musical motifs that indicate a particular status of the scooter or a mode of ride. It turned out that it was possible to expand the sound frequencies by combining short sound pulses. To increase the functionality of the sound device, the technical team upgraded the sound program code, which made it possible to implement the audio brand concept.

The piezoelectric emitter is an energy-saving device that uses almost no scooter battery power making the scooter not only more functional and safe but also environmentally friendly.

Whoosh scooters work using a transport model, so they should be intuitive and convenient, like any urban transport. The new audio signal system will allow a rider to receive messages from the scooter about the device or the trip without being distracted from the road and without interrupting the movement.
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