Nov 29, 2013
App Awareness: ‘Play The Road’ With VW & Underworld’s Driver-Driven Music Tech

Volkswagen and British electronic music legends Underworld teamed up to turn your driving machine into your new favorite musical instrument.

Using data from the iPhone and car’s computer system–velocity, acceleration, RPM, and even geographical location–the Play The Road app for iOS creates a dynamic soundtrack controlled by the movement of the car. But, when we say “soundtrack,” we don’t mean it will spit out suitably tempo-d songs at you a la Songza. When cruising or idling, the noise is more or less ambient and background-oriented, but take a sharp turn, and the app dives into increasingly high-pitched synth notes and scales programmed by Underworld. Turn the other direction, and the scale descends in the opposite direction. Step on the gas, and drums emerge from the calming synth array, pounding throughout the car in response to the acceleration and g-forces. The driver’s iPhone comes into play as well, lending its gyroscope, accelerometer, and GPS to the sound modulation and introducing things like bird noises while driving through rural areas. Below is a 17-minute demonstration video showing nothing more than the device in action during a test drive.

If you’ve ever marvelled at that sensation that arises out of the perfect synchronicity between that moment in your favorite tune and that very Bond-esque maneuver you just pulled in your car, imagine this moment on full blast, intelligently conceived to deliver these moments one after the other. Yeah, we want it too, but unfortunately it’s not yet available for commercial use. Get more info on the project here. Want a shot at being a beta tester? Enter here.

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