Real-Time Radio and Street Sounds Bring These Virtual Driving Tours to Life
Amid last year’s travel restrictions and global lockdowns, Erkam Şeker, a Turkish graduate student studying in Munich, missed cruising around Istanbul’s streets with music blaring—and thought that others might be longing for the nostalgia-inducing pastime, too. So he set up Drive & Listen, a website that allows visitors to do exactly that. Enter the site, and high-resolution video footage (obtained from YouTube and user-submitted dash cam content) of a ride through a city, with a view from behind the wheel, fills the screen. A dashboard at the top provides more than 50 towns to tour, including Barcelona, Oslo, São Paulo, and Seoul, and various speeds at which users can roll.
But it’s Şeker’s thoughtful use of sound that takes the experience to the next level. A radio stream emits real-time tunes from stations in a given locale, and even allows for channel-surfing. Click the “Street Noise” button to layer the hubbub of the cityscape on top of the music, filtering in blowing horns, revving engines, or wind rushing through the windows. From time to time, users will find themselves briefly parked at a red light or an intersection—a pleasing pause that lets the audible surroundings sink in. For those stressed by traffic congestion (or who prefer the passenger’s seat), it’s nice to leave the steering to someone else, focus on the aural atmosphere, and take in the drive.