Selling Silence: Hyundai Developing Advanced Noise Cancellation System

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
selling silence hyundai developing advanced noise cancellation system

Noise-canceling technologies have become a handy little tool wedged inside the belt of many automakers. Aimed at reducing unpleasant road noise, most systems invert incoming sound waves to produce an exact negative of the ambient sound you don’t want to hear. They work best when you don’t notice them, which is pretty much always, but Hyundai Group claims there’s more work to be done before the tech is perfect.

As a result, the Korean manufacturer has developed an upgraded version of its current active noise control setup (ANC), one it calls “the world’s first Road Noise Active Noise Control.” Rather than simply piping in sounds designed to offset road noise, the new system (referred to as “RANC” by the automaker) also analyses in-cabin sound to make adjustments to help nullify unpalatable engine and road drone.

From Hyundai:

The existing noise insulation method involved sound insulations and dynamic dampers, which not only increased weight but also failed to block the buzzing infrasound completely. In contrast, ANC utilizes much lighter parts like microphones and controllers to control the noise and reduces infrasound more efficiently. The technology is already available in some Hyundai Motor Group vehicles.

However, due to the limitations of noise measurement and analysis technology, the existing ANC was only able to be utilized when noise was constant and the occurrence of the noise predictable. The Group’s current ANC technology has been most commonly used to counteract constant engine noise. Given that it only takes about 0.009 second for road or engine noise to reach the passenger, the current technology was limited.

RANC is supposed to be able to identify more sounds at a much quicker pace, allowing so-equipped vehicles to do a much better job at creating the sounds of silence. According to Hyundai, it only takes 0.002 second to analyze the noise and produce an inverted sound wave, generated by the Digital Signal Processor (DSP). The cabin microphone constantly monitors the road noise cancelation effectiveness while acceleration sensors monitor the vibration from the road to the car. All of that data is then fed into the DSP so it can make on-the-fly adjustments.

Through testing, Hyundai claims the new system was able to reduce in-cabin noise by 3dB and may allow the carmaker to use less sound-deadening materials in the future, potentially reducing vehicular weight and material costs. However, it took quite a bit of R&D to get here. Hyundai spent the last six years working with Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, WeAcom, ARE, BurnYoung, and others to produce the RANC system.

Mass produced versions of the new noise-canceling tech will be handled in association with the audio wizards at Harman. Your author actually got a look (or listen) at some of the technologies the pair were working on last year and was rather impressed with the latest noise-cancellation tech — though we were only to try it in a little room, rather than a fully functional automobile.

The first RANC systems are said to be fitted to an upcoming Genesis model, with plans to expand from there.

[Images: Hyundai]

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2 of 16 comments
  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Nov 13, 2019

    The day the develop a noise cancelling system to silence children quarreling in the back seat, I'll be sold to the system. And/or a nagging wife at the front seat.

  • TR4 TR4 on Nov 13, 2019

    "Hyundai claims the new system was able to reduce in-cabin noise by 3dB" 3dB? Better than nothing, but doesn't seem like much to brag about. For comparison, noise canceling headphones are on the order of 20dB.

  • Arthur Dailey This is still the only 'car' show that our entire family enjoys. This is not Willie Mays with the Mets style of decline. More like Gretzky with the Blues. It may not be their 'best' work but when it works the magic is still there.
  • Cprescott Are there any actual minvans left? Honduh and Toyoduh are bloated messes - the Kia Carnival as well. These vehicles are within inches of a 1960's short wheelbase Ford Econoline in size. Hardly mini.
  • Arthur Dailey Ford was on a roll with these large cars. The preferred colours being either green or brown. The brown was particularly 'brougham'. Chrysler vehicles also seemed particularly popular in green during that era. Ford's 'aircraft' inspired instrument 'pod' for the driver rather than the 'flat' instrument panel was deemed 'futuristic' at the time. Note that this vehicle does not have the clock. The hands and numbers are missing. Having the radio controls on the left side of the driver could however be infuriating. Although I admire pop-up/hideaway headlights, Ford's vacuum powered system was indeed an issue. If I left my '78 T-Bird parked for more than about 12 hours, there was a good chance that when I returned the headlight covers had retracted. The first few times this happened it gave me a 'start' as I feared that I may have left the lights on and drained the battery.
  • Jeff S Still a nice car and I remember these very well especially in this shade of green. The headlights were vacuum controlled. I always liked the 67 thru 72 LTDs after that I found them bloated. Had a friend in college with a 2 door 71 LTD which I drove a couple of times it was a nice car.
  • John H Last week after 83 days, dealership said mine needs new engine now. They found metal in oil. Potential 8 to 9 month wait.