You’ve probably heard of headphones with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) by now. And, if you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered about what other noisy applications this technology can be applied to, like can we just ANC our house or our car? Well, as it turns out, Hyundai has thought of that too and their solution is something called the Road-Noise Active Noise Control, or RANC for short, and it sounds mighty impressive.
Hyundai explains that road noise–i.e. the noise that comes from your tyre’s contact with the surface of the road–is one of the main sources of in-cabin noise in a car especially at A-road or highway speeds. And, sometimes the noise level in the cabin can be so bad that it would cause passengers to have a “panic attack”.
Traditionally, car manufacturers have resorted to passive noise control solutions through the use of dampers in the structure and acoustic absorption under the hood or in the engine bay, as well as other insulating materials like double-pane windows.
Others have used active noise control solutions that aren’t that unlike the tech we’d find in modern-day ANC headphones. But, both of these have their limitations. Even something like active noise control wouldn’t work as well in the cabin of a car than they would in a pair of headphones because of the space between the headphone’s speakers and the user’s ears.
That’s why Hyundai developed their RANC technology. The way RANC works is not completely dissimilar to how ANC works. They take the soundwaves produced by the road noise, captured with microphones in the car, then invert those soundwaves to cancel out the noise. But, the cool thing about this is that this system is designed to adapt to your driving conditions.
This is possible thanks to a whole host of acceleration sensors that have been placed “strategically” along the suspension and chassis of the vehicle to predict the noise transferred into the cabin. Then, the system is able to generate an anti-noise wave in real-time to cancel out those noises thanks to a dedicated digital signal processor (DSP). Theoretically, this should improve upon traditional ANC solutions that only work best when the noise they’re trying to cancel out is constant.
On their website, Hyundai says that it takes about 0.009 seconds for road or engine noise to reach the passenger, but with RANC, their system is able to analyse and cancel out the noise in just 0.002 seconds. That’s crazy fast, and Hyundai says this speed is possible because RANC uses light signals that travel at the speed of light (duh), so with this technology it can “control any noise regardless of distance”.
Now, it is worth noting that we don’t know exactly how effective this is in the real world, but this technology is currently being employed in the new Genesis GV80 luxury SUV.
My thoughts currently revolve around what else I can use this technology for. I mean, if it can cancel out any noise…