Genesis parent company Hyundai Motor Group has developed new a new system that can reduce unwanted outside noise, leapfrogging the industry and setting a new bar for using technology to improve cabin comfort the company announced on Tuesday.
Noise-cancellation technology has become commonplace in the automotive universe, but its current applications are limited to reducing noise from predictable sources, usually in the form of unwanted engine frequencies. Hyundai’s new tech aims to do for car rides what noise-canceling headphones do for plane rides, only with benefits that extend to everybody on board—and Genesis will be the beneficiary.
The technology calculates the road vibration into the cabin and uses microphones to monitor noise sources in real time. The audio system then produces inverted waves that cancel out the unwanted frequencies. The system can monitor multiple seating positions, and account for things such as distance from the source and the type of intrusive noise.
Existing noise-cancellation systems are less sophisticated because they are limited by processing speeds. Hyundai says it takes approximately 0.009 seconds for an unwanted frequency to reach the ear—less time than the current-gen technology needs to compensate. This is why existing systems address only known sources of noise, such as engines, which behave predictably. This eliminates the need for real-time interpretation of incoming noise sources.
Hyundai’s new system can react in just 0.002 seconds—quickly enough to interpret and account for unwanted noise—allowing it to neutralize unpleasant frequencies on the fly. Hyundai calls it Road Noise Active Noise Control, or RANC, and it can address anything from tire hiss to the thumps of rumble strips. It won’t eliminate them entirely (nor should it, in the latter case), but it will make them more tolerable.
2020 Genesis G90 (Korean spec)
“Based on tests evaluating road surface, vehicle speed, and different seating positions, RANC was able to reduce in-cabin noise by 3dB. That 3dB level is roughly half the noise level as compared without,” Hyundai’s announcement said. “Thanks to this achievement, the Group can potentially decrease the amount of unsprung weight in a vehicle, utilizing fewer sound-insulating parts and dampers as compared with before.”
Alternatively, Hyundai can layer the system on top of existing noise control strategies, making a car interior quieter in exchange for a near-zero increase in weight.
Hyundai has filed patents for the location of sensors and its signal selection technology. RANC is the result of six years of development, and the company is working with audio/speaker company Harman for the mass-production phase.
Hyundai says RANC will debut on a forthcoming Genesis model. We expect this to be either the upcoming GV80 or the forthcoming G90, which we’ve already seen in its Korean guise.