Silence may be golden to some people, but it’s not always a desirable trait in a car.
The sound of a sweet engine note can be music to a driver’s ears, however it can be spoiled by unwanted mechanical or non-mechanical noises.
It’s something Kia Motors has focused considerable research on in the pursuit of enhanced vehicle enjoyment, and the company’s engineers have recently developed sophisticated technology to help in the drive towards superior motoring sound.
Kia has specialist units within its Research & Development centre in Korea that are dedicated to minimising uncomfortable noise and maximising harmonious sounds with Research Lab and Noise Vibration Development Team being at the leading edge of state-of-the-art sound technology.
Between them, these units study the intricate network of components that goes into a modern car, including the engine, transmission, drivetrain and chassis that contribute to noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), which largely affect the driving experience. Not an easy task when a car comprises more than 30,000 individual parts.
Their research has been targeting two areas:
Active Noise Control (ANC) – Automatic active noise control technology effectively offsets unpleasant noises by sending out counter-waves after analysing the wavelengths of internal noises. By adopting this advanced technology, Kia technicians have been able to decrease the number of noise prevention parts in many of its current Kia models, which in turn contributes to weight reduction and improved fuel efficiency.
Active Sound Design (ASD) – Kia recently became the first in Korea to develop Active Sound Design, which enables drivers to select engine sound styles. ASD creates customised engine sounds by utilising a built-in sound controller. This provides drivers with the ability to choose from diverse sound settings, including ‘regular’, ‘sporty’ and ‘quiet’, enabling them to enjoy a more personalised driving experience.
Being able to manipulate noise generation in a car will not only improve the enjoyment for the vehicle owner, but could also provide positive benefits to other occupants, leading to more relaxed and safer motoring.