Ford is following the lead of other carmakers, like Toyota and GM, and introducing noise cancelling technology into its cars. The Active Noise Control system monitors noise and uses sound waves to block it out. It is inspired by noise cancelling headphones that minimize background noise.
Like noise cancelling headphones, the Active Noise Control system provides drivers and passengers with a more peaceful and comfortable experience. In addition, though, Ford says it can contribute to the safety of car occupants.
"Noise is intrusive and reduces the driver's mental processing power, and can lead to distraction and stress," says chief medical officer at Ford of Britain Dr John Cartwright. "By removing unwanted powertrain noise, Ford is helping customers to complete their journey calmly and in comfort."
The system uses three microphones placed around the cabin to monitor background noise. In addition, the behavior of both the driver and the vehicle is monitored. These factors are used to inform the opposing sound waves that are created to counteract the background noise, which Ford says can be done without affecting music or conversation volume levels.
Ford's Active Noise Control debuts in Ford's new Mondeo Vignale, which also utilizes a number of other technologies to improve the acoustics for those inside. Foam rather than fiberglass, is used to insulate the engine bay, reducing powertrain noise transferred to the cabin by up to two decibels, acoustic glass is used to minimize the noise caused by air-flow around the window pillars and sound-absorbing materials are used for the interior.
The Active Noise Control system will be rolled out to other Ford vehicles after debuting in the Mondeo Vignale.