Ford, Honda Quiet Their Family Sedans With Noise Cancellation
The 2013 Fusion Hybrid and 2013 Accord use microphones and stereo speakers to filter unwanted interior noise.
Ford and Honda are the latest automakers to use active noise cancellation to make their cabins quieter. Microphones placed within the 2013 Fusion Hybrid and 2013 Accord can pick up unwanted frequencies; then a computer inverts the sound waves and plays them back through the stereo speakers.
Instead of packing in physical materials to reduce noise, which adds weight and reduces fuel economy, active noise cancellation is a software-based solution. As such, it's far cheaper to develop and install, plus it lets engineers filter out sounds that acoustic-laminated glass and other materials can't block. In average-priced cars, that means that wind and road noise, if not completely isolated as in a Rolls-Royce, can at least be minimized.
On the Fusion Hybrid, active noise cancellation masks the engine's ultralow revs at cruising speeds, which on most cars would send uncomfortable, low-frequency booms throughout the cabin. Instead, the engine can consume less fuel but not appear to be bogged down. Ford is also adding the technology to the C-Max Hybrid, the Lincoln MKS and 2013 Lincoln MKZ.
"Reduced powertrain noise in the passenger compartment becomes the icing on the cake," Ford engineer Takeshi Abe said.
General Motors was the first automaker to use active noise cancellation, beginning in 2009, on 4-cylinder models of the Chevrolet Equinox. Infiniti was next in 2010 with a Bose-designed system on the M sedan. Cadillac now uses Bose noise cancellation on the 2013 XTS and ATS sedans, as well as on the 2013 Buick Encore crossover.
The technology was introduced in 1989 by Bose and initially was aimed at headphones for commercial airline pilots. It was slow to catch on in the consumer market due to high costs; Bose's first consumer headphones debuted in 2000. Today, a pair of decent noise-canceling headphones can be had for about $150. As anyone who's been on a full flight of crying babies knows, they are a soothing godsend.
When cheaper cars like the Civic and Focus get noise cancellation, who knows, perhaps American drivers might even get a little calmer on the road. Maybe.
[Source: MSN, Ford, USA Today]
EXPLORE NEW CARS
MORE ON MSN AUTOS
ABOUT EXHAUST NOTES
Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.
Have a story idea? Tip us off at firstname.lastname@example.org.