Researcher Proposes Noise Cancellation Tech for Use in Cars

We are used to sound deadening material that is opulently applied to many of our vehicles today, to give an impression of distance and safety. However, while there is no reason to believe that the removal of rather annoying routine noises, such as wind or engine sounds, is a bad idea (as long as you do not buy a car with the explicit reason to hear its engine or exhaust), we found it rather strange that someone would think it equally desirable to get rid of noises that are caused, for example, by a sudden impact.

Guohua Su from the University of Cincinnati developed an algorithm that, in theory, allows him to produce an instant sound wave when, for example, a vehicle would "encounter with potholes, bumps or other roadway pavement obstacles." The sound wave may not completely remove the sound he said, but significantly “erase the perceived road noise heard within the car's cabin."

Call us old-fashioned, but isn't it a matter of road safety to hear those sudden noises to allow a driver to potentially react to a changed road situation or condition? Isn't road noise a form of feedback for the driver? We are not convinced that this is such a great idea - at least as long as we are still in charge of driving our cars, and not a computerized system - but there is time left to actually see (and hear) what Su has in mind. He said that he wants to test the system in an actual vehicle next year, and Ford has apparently agreed to work with him.

Dubbed active noise control (ANC), Su said that the technology will require "a robust algorithm that can efficiently and quickly track such noise and respond to it." He noted that common technology available in a car can help make such a system possible: "For instance, the car’s computer that operates music, GPS, engine sensor and other functions can also be employed to operate an ANC system, and the sensors and even door and roof music speakers now common in various parts of an automobile could be employed to generate ANC signals as needed."

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  • lahawzel
    Noise cancellation in a car sounds like the worst idea ever. If you're a passenger, maybe this will benefit you, but the driver needs to hear all those sounds. What if your engine starts to make weird noises? What if cars start honking at you and you don't notice? People get into enough traffic accidents as it is. Don't need this extraneous technology to increase the casualties.
  • DSpider
    How about cancelling the noise that comes out of the car?

    Call it the Gangsta Muffler™.
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    This technology isn't very useful for the driver but it may prove useful for, say, buses, where the driver cockpit can be separated from the rest of the bus, leaving the driver exposed to noises as s/he sees fit while the passengers enjoy the quiet.
  • greghome
    DSpiderHow about cancelling the noise that comes out of the car?Call it the Gangsta Muffler™.
    Tell that to all those ricers that can't even beat a Toyota Camry, but sounds as loud as a Ferrari.
  • sykozis
    This "technology" is actually pretty old.... They're just introducing a new scenario...
  • Shin-san
    That might actually make me feel sick.
  • kc5omo
    Not really, rhythmic road sounds could be lowered. This would make for a more comfortable, pleasant trip on rock embedded asphalt roads.
  • danwat1234
    Honda's Odyssey has engine bay noise cancellation technology and so do a few other cars. The car's radio system counteracts the sound waves coming from the engine bay.
    I'm not sure if cancelling road noises is a good idea or not
  • freggo
    Sorry Officer, I did not hear your siren. My car has noise cancellation :-)

    "use rapid sound waves"...

    I knew it... those expensive rides have faster sound waves than a bargain basement Chevy of course :-)
  • aoneone
    in other words you hear high pitch frequency that most people cannot hear whenever there is noise, yeah that will help..