Nissan Leaf Dream Drive rocks your baby to sleep. Picture: SUPPLIED
Nissan Leaf Dream Drive rocks your baby to sleep. Picture: SUPPLIED

Many parents of babies have discovered the trick of driving to lull their children to sleep.

Most think that it’s the movement of the car that sends their tykes into dreamland, but it’s in fact the soothing sound frequencies of an internal combustion engine (ICE) that is the biggest contributor to a child falling asleep in the car. 

This is a problem with noise-free electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf, but Nissan has come to the rescue by introducing the Nissan Leaf Dream Drive — the world’s first zero-emission lullaby, dreamt up by Nissan engineers in collaboration with Sound Designer and Sleep Coach, Tom Middleton.

It’s a sleep album for babies that mimics the peaceful sound frequencies of a humming combustion engine — trusted to put children to sleep — and environmentally conscious parents can do it with a clear conscience as there’s no CO2 emission cost. 

The “kryptonite” album for angry babies contains five three-minute tracks that work in harmony with the advanced in-car technology available within the all-electric Leaf.

According to expert, Paul Speed-Andrews, Noise and Vibration Development Manager at Nissan: “An EV like the Nissan Leaf is a better choice for dream driving; although we are aware that the quiet soundscape might not be as effective as ICE cars. Combustion engines transmit a sound frequency, a combination of white, pink and brown noise varied in tone — creating an orchestral soundscape that is especially soothing and comforting to children.”

Frequent dream driving in a combustion engine leads to an increase in carbon footprint; with parents emitting up to 70,000g of CO2 emissions every year. However, 70% of European parents agree an EV would reduce their guilt around dream driving and want to become better environmental role models for their children.

Middleton added: “It is the world’s first collaboration with a car as featured artist. In addition to the combustion engine frequencies that only children can hear — which help lull them to sleep — every sound you can hear comes from building an orchestra of sounds and rhythms from interior and exterior recordings of the Leaf.”

Parents can connect their smartphone to their Nissan Leaf through Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, to enjoy the lullaby available on platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube and Deezer.  


Nasa seeks lunar rovers for Mars expedition

This is the concept lunar rover that Toyota has presented to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Picture: SUPPLIED
This is the concept lunar rover that Toyota has presented to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Picture: SUPPLIED

The Artemis programme is a partnership between Nasa, the U- based commercial space flight company, and other partners from Europe, Japan and Canada with aims to go one further than Neil Armstrong and co by transporting humans to Mars, and to jump-start a lunar economy.

The part that interests us is that the project has put out a tender for an assortment of vehicles, including lunar rovers that can traverse the moon's surface.

Nasa is said to require an open-cockpit, manned vehicle which will allow astronauts to explore the moon’s wilderness. According to a member of Nasa, the development of a new lunar rover isn't only about how to traverse rough terrain. There are also areas such as electric energy storage and management, self-driving capability, and surviving in extreme environments that also need to be looked at.

Audi and Toyota have in the past developed moon rover concepts, as did Lexus quite recently with its fantasy of a lunar vehicle that hovers. Hey, Nasa, we have a suggestion or four of apt vehicles that were developed right here at in SA but they will need minor adjustments.

The Dakar Rally Toyota Hilux of Giniel de Villiers comes to mind, so does the assortment of Denel-built armoured cars like the Rooikat, Ratel and Casspir.

Nasa is said to be looking at a time frame of the mid-2030s for landing a human on Mars.


Hyundai designer honoured

Luc Donckerwolke (left) with Okan Altan, Autobest jury member. Picture: SUPPLIED
Luc Donckerwolke (left) with Okan Altan, Autobest jury member. Picture: SUPPLIED

Hyundai’s Chief Design Officer Luc Donckerwolke has been presented with the Designbest award, making him the newest member of Autobest’s Hall of Fame.

The international Autobest jury representing 31 countries across Europe acknowledged Donckerwolke’s achievements, including as Chief Design Officer for Hyundai, Kia and Genesis.

Luc Donckerwolke is the Chief Design Officer and an Executive Vice-President at Hyundai

“At Autobest we have followed the outstanding work of Luc for many years, including his career at some of the most iconic car brands, including Audi, Bentley and Lamborghini. During the past few years we have recognised Luc’s impact at Hyundai and Kia, while he has also played a key role in shaping the Genesis brand. This, and the most recent highlight in his career, being appointed as chief design officer for the group, lead us to make him a member of our unique Hall of Fame,” said Dan Vardie, Founder and Chairman of Autobest organisation.

“In the era of green, connected and autonomous mobility he is one of the key car designers globally, shaping how design will adapt to disruptive change.”

Prior to joining the Hyundai Motor Group in 2015, Donckerwolke worked for many years at the Volkswagen Group, where he was involved in the development of the Audi A2, Lamborghini Murcielago and Gallardo. In 2012 he became head of design at Bentley and led the development of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car. In 2015 he moved to Hyundai where he worked on the company’s new luxury marque — Genesis.

In 2016 he was appointed head of the Hyundai Design Center, before moving up to chief design officer in 2018.