Active Road Noise Cancelation In Your Car: All You Need To Know

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Road noise cancelation systems are better than ever - but how do they actually work?

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Making cars as comfortable and luxurious as possible is not limited to just the kind of materials used to cover the seats; noise cancelation in cars has become increasingly popular in providing a serene cabin. Although soundproofing has been a staple in the manufacturing process for ages, technology now allows us to make cars with active noise cancelation systems that actually work to decrease the impact of harsh sounds.

Cars With Noise Cancellation Hyundai Motor Group

What Is Active Road Noise Cancelation

This refers to technology that is used in modern cars to reduce or minimize noise from the road, tires, and engine. In the same way that noise-canceling headphones work, active noise cancelation tech in your car uses microphones and sensors, which are strategically placed around the chassis and cabin, to pick up on these disruptive frequencies and unwanted noises.

Once processed by the onboard computer, a counter-frequency or sound wave is created that will effectively cancel out those harsher sounds and is played back through the sound system in your vehicle. Your audio system doesn't even need to be turned up for this to work. The noise-canceling signal isn't audible to passengers, but it effectively minimizes the noises that would otherwise be quite distracting.

Various automakers have taken to developing their own unique systems. Here are just a few worth mentioning:

  • Jaguar Land Rover: The British marque makes use of sensors on each wheel to monitor the vibrations from the road surface as well as data gathered from how many passengers are in the vehicle, in order to play the correct opposite frequency through the speakers. According to the manufacturer, this will reduce overall noise levels by up to four decibels, and lower disruptive noise peaks by ten decibels. This noise-canceling system will be used in cars like the Jaguar F-Pace and Range Rover Velar after the 2021 MY.
  • Hyundai: Hyundai has developed its own sound elimination system called 'Road-Noise Active Noise Control' which has been honed since ARNC technology was first used in the likes of the Hyundai Palisade and some corporate cousins in the Kia lineup. The Hyundai system uses velocity sensors, amplifiers, microphones, and a digital signal processor to cancel out noise for a cabin that is as quiet as possible.
  • Cadillac: With quite a few years of noise-canceling under its belt, Cadillac has also upped its game to provide a next-generation active noise cancelation system through its audio setup, and will feature this cutting-edge tech on future cars like the Lyriq.

Other Ways Of Reducing Road Noise

There are many ways in which modern cars try to reduce noise from highways, traffic, engine, and tires. Let's take a look at some ways that road noise reduction has been implemented in modern cars, and how various noise cancelation devices for cars work together for the quietest cabin:

  • Acoustic Materials and damping: To help reduce road and wind noise, manufacturers build various layers of soundproofing into cars too. This includes acoustic glass, which has been recorded to reduce certain frequencies by up to six decibels. This could also help with street noise reduction. Cabin damping also refers to layers of special materials used to soundproof and insulate against outside noise.
  • Noise-reducing tires: Special tires lined with sound-deadening materials are also available if you want to cut down on noise. Especially popular for EVs, these tires work by absorbing the vibrations picked up off of the road's surface. The material reduces how much of those vibrations are reverberated through the car's chassis and into the cabin. Overall comfort is significantly improved as road noise is considerably dulled, too, with various reports claiming noise reduction levels of around two and three decibels.
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Active Noise Cancellation For Cars Ford

Benefits of Active Noise Cancelation On Your Vehicle

Active road noise cancelation is beneficial in more ways than one, and nowadays is no longer limited to only luxury cars. Here are some reasons why the technology gets our thumbs-up:

  • Quiet cabins for the ultimate in serene driving
  • Less road noise intruding means you can hear your favorite playlist better as well as calls that may come through on your hands-free audio setup
  • The cancelation of highway, traffic, and road noise means fewer distractions for the driver
  • Driver fatigue is diminished and the driver can stay alert for longer
  • Using ANC technology means less reliance on damping and soundproofing in the manufacturing process, which means lighter curb weights
Car Noise Cancellation Hyundai Motor Group

FAQs

Do I need to know how to turn on active noise cancelation?

The in-car noise-canceling system runs on its own and doesn't need to be manually activated. So if you purchase a new vehicle that has an active noise cancelation system or specialized acoustic materials, you'll immediately experience the benefits. Your sound system doesn't even need to be turned up for this to work.

Are cars with noise cancelation technologies safe?

Cars with noise-canceling technologies actually have a few benefits when it comes to safety. In terms of active road noise cancelation, the fact that there is less cabin noise to distract the driver or cause fatigue should translate to a safer drive overall. With less road noise, drivers should also be able to focus on driving, be situationally aware, and be alert to sounds such as car horns, emergency vehicle sirens, or other warning signals. Naturally, this doesn't mean you should rely on this technology alone, as the onus for safe and responsible driving is still on the pilot. Be sure to check out our road trip guide for more tips and tricks in this regard.

Is noise cancelation technology only available on expensive, premium cars?

In the past, quiet cabins may have been the aim of high-end manufacturers only, but as technology has advanced, manufacturers across the board have invested in it. Even more reasonably-priced vehicles from Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota now offer active noise cancelation.

Can active noise cancelation be bad for your ears?

While it's true that this technology emits inverse soundwaves to cancel out harsher frequencies, and these opposite frequencies are not audible to us as occupants in the car, they are not harmful in any way. By reducing the intensity of harsh sounds fed back into the cabin, this technology is actually beneficial to the driver and the passenger.

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