Move over, silent discos, the silent car is coming
April 30, 2019
Ever feel like you’re in a movie when you’re driving? Your own movie? In which you’re the lead, and everything is amazing? You’re probably belting out harmonies to your favourite song at the same time, right? Which you set to play by instructing your car’s operating system? While the evolution of integrated software, electric vehicles and autonomous automobiles is bringing the future to us at high speed, some manufacturers want to take you back in time, to a situation that feels a little more like a silent movie, rather than the soundtrack to your life. Enter the (kinda) silent car.
Car production is increasing, and the more cars there are on the road, the more noise there is. Right now you might not hear it so much inside a car, but changes in vehicle design and a move away from combustion engines means that more and more cars are running more quietly. Even the louder petrol- and diesel-run rides are enjoying the advances of the latest automotive engineering and becoming quieter inside. This means you hear more from the outside – the sound of wheels on tar, screeches, sirens, hooters, horns, and the occasional holler from a roadside vendor. And while these sounds are important and helpful, they can also be overwhelming.
So, wait, what? Stealth mode for my car?
Maybe. The Massachusetts audio equipment brand, Bose, is known for its noise-cancelling headphone range. They’re now moving into the automotive market and staking their claim as the pioneers of the silent drive.
Their product, QuietMotion, asserts that it will measure your car’s vibrations and cancel them, reports The Verge.
The high-tech system’s full name is QuietComfort Road Noise Control (RNC) and it uses a clever combination of algorithms and accelerometers to quieten the interior.
Once an acoustic cancellation signal is calculated by these, it’s sent through the speakers into your ears. The result? Er, quiet. Or quieter, as the case may be. Technically speaking, this is a sound-softening system; it cannot create silence itself, because this probably doesn’t exist on earth. Pure silence is the absence of sound altogether, and most of us don’t drive in a vacuum (even if the cabin of our car feels like our own, private universe).
RNC also appreciates that you drive all kinds of roads, and it adjusts to changes in the surface terrain like tar, gravel, and concrete. The Next Web explains that there are microphones positioned inside the vehicle to ensure the changing output is accurate. “These monitor noise-levels and allow the system to adapt the cancellation depending on conditions.”
Keen to try it? According to The Verge, “the first QuietComfort-enabled cars are planned to be in production models by the end of 2021.” And even after you embrace the art of zen driving, it’s comforting to know you’ll always have your favourite tunes to drown the din out with.
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