Project HEAR: Wölfel makes the city of tomorrow audible

The Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences is researching the city of tomorrow together with technology companies and municipalities. Wölfel is participating in the partnership with a project that makes the acoustic effects of structural changes actually audible in advance.

Protection from noise and other immissions is an important issue for citizens and also plays a major role in the city of the future. At the same time, the need of affected citizens to be better involved in the planning of construction projects is growing.

As part of the publicly funded HEAR project, which is part of the overarching i_city partnership, Wölfel is developing a tool that makes the actual acoustic changes caused by a construction project audible. The basis of this tool is the IMMI software, which Wölfel has been developing and selling for over 30 years. The software helps those responsible for construction to simulate sound immissions during planning.

However, the abstract values and figures that IMMI simulations provide are not very tangible for affected citizens. With the help of the new tool, citizens and other interested parties will be able to hear in advance how, for example, a new noise barrier or structural changes to an intersection will affect traffic noise and thus the ears of nearby residents. This technique is called auralization. To create such sound carpets, the Wölfel team conducted countless field recordings and linked them to the algorithms of the IMMI software.


Auralisation tool to be part of IMMI software from summer

"The solution was actually quite simple in the end, but we had to work it out first and sometimes hit dead ends in the process," reports Janosch Blaul of the Wölfel project team. After all, Wölfel GmbH's road noise simulation is one of the first of its kind in the world - and the only one so far that reproduces the soundscape at a true level and is thus within the official calculation regulations for noise immission control.

Research and development for the tool have already been completed, and the team is currently still fine-tuning it. The planned release date is July 2021 in the course of this year's IMMI update, which will be made available to all customers free of charge. Feel free to get in touch if you would like more information about IMMI.

For more details about the project and the work on the tool, visit the official project page of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

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