Hyundai brings the sound of silence to its cars
Headphone-style noise cancelling technology will make future cars serenely quiet
Luxury car-style cabin serenity is soon coming to ordinary vehicles, thanks to technology.
Hyundai has announced it is developing a road noise active noise control (RANC) system, a world first which it claims dramatically reduces noise inside a car.
It’s a further development of the Korean carmaker’s current active noise control (ANC) system, which reduces noise by emitting soundwaves inverted to incoming noise — much like noise-cancelling headphones.
The technology analyses in-cabin sound to decrease engine and road noise, and Hyundai says it’s not only more effective than the passive method of blocking noise through sound insulation, but also lighter. It means that future vehicles can potentially weigh less as they will require fewer sound-insulating materials or double-glazed windows.
“The existing noise insulation method involved sound insulation and dynamic dampers, which not only increased weight but also failed to block the buzzing infrasound completely,” a Hyundai spokesperson said.
“In contrast, ANC utilises much lighter parts like microphones and controllers to control the noise and reduces infrasound more efficiently.”
The existing ANC system has been most commonly used to counteract constant engine noise. RANC, which was developed in conjunction global car audio company Harman, takes it further by analysing various types of noise in real-time and producing inverted soundwaves.
“For example, there are different types of road noises that the new technology can process, such as resonant sounds created between tyres and wheels or rumble sounds coming up from the road,” the spokesperson said.
RANC, which has taken six years to develop, was able to reduce in-cabin noise by about half.
Hyundai says the technology is especially suited to electric vehicles, which do not have combustion engines to quell other sounds, thus making road and wind noise more noticeable.
The production-ready technology will first be used in an upcoming model from Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury division.