Sean – My Favourite Passenger

I love driving with Sean.

He’s not always with me when I’m the car, but when he is, he’s (mostly) reliable, never loses his temper, and never demands to stop for a wee or a KFC.

Sean is the voice I chose for my TomTom SatNav.

There have been a number of articles about research into voices and how people respond to them. Female voices are pleasant and caring but subservient. Male voices are commanding and authoritative. The Guardian gets itself in a tizzy in this article.

Of the many voices TomTom offer as your in car guide, I chose Sean. He’s not particularly authoritative. He’s friendly, relaxed… and Irish. I don’t know who he REALLY is. It’s possible I know the voice actor, or know of him – the voiceover world isn’t as big as some might think.

Sean doesn’t seem that bothered if I miss a turn. In fact I wouldn’t be at all surprised if after missing a number of turns, he announced that rather than “turn around where possible” he might say, “Ah never mind. There’s a pub just down here on the right. Let’s pull in, call it a day and have a pint.” Just like a real, live mate might. As long as they pay for the taxi.

I have recorded prompts for SatNav devices and I’d love to be able to emulate Sean’s laid-back approach to giving directions, but my voice is more cool, sophisticated AI than chilled bloke. Maybe I need to work on that. Not the bloke part. But I’ll have a pint, please.

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