Footnote Today: October 10, 2013 – QNX Announces Pure Software Solution For In-Car Noise Reduction

Report – QNX Announces Pure Software Solution For In-Car Noise Reduction

Software can do a lot of things, but can it create quiet?

QNX Acoustics thinks it can. The company is marketing an all-software remedy for eliminating mechanical and road noises from car cabins.

The Active Noise Control system uses a car’s existing sound or infotainment system to effectively cancel out offensives noises. This capability can be programmed into most existing hardware, QNX says.

The result is a claimed noise reduction of up to 20 decibels, without modifying the vehicle or adding any equipment.

QNX says this software-only approach could save up to $60 per vehicle, and offers car designers flexibility. Since the system can be retrofitted to existing hardware, each car won’t require its own custom version.

Source: Motor Authority

Footnote – What Is a QNX Car?

Our definition of a car, whether it is just Practical (carrying only two) or very Practical (carrying 5, and no more), is one that strikes a balance between ride and handling, while Aesthetically pleasing and performing such that the heart is invested right into it. There’s quite some of these and there’s quite some that only aspire and some that just never pass. You’re sorry for all the engineering efforts that go into them.

Now, one all-important factor in judging ride quality is noise, or it’s absence thereof. How comfortable is a noisy car? Or how pleasant is a quiet car? Look, the engine may drone all it wants…

It’s why we’ve been following BlackBerry closely on its Advances on noise cancellation or control for in-car enjoyment with QNX. Really, other manufacturers developing in the direction too – Mercedes-Benz, Ford (and Lincoln), Honda. You want to feel the boom of a great, sonorous, exhaust note, perhaps more on the outside, but you don’t want it to get in the way of the ride anyway. Noise while in transit can be horribly fatiguing!

Think of Bose headphones and how they enable your enjoying the music being piped into them from your iPod. But, active noise cancellation is now beyond just stuffing high-density foam material to absorb ambient noise, sounds of high frequencies. To understand how I want to explain how this works picture ambient noise as forming different wave patterns flowing into the car and into the ear.

What an “active” system does is it continues to detect the waveform of the ambient sounds (their patterns of crests and troughs) and propagates opposite wave patterns to intersect with these and effectively cancelling them out. This is called destructive interference and for the QNX system it happens on the car body, outside the inside. According to QNX,

QNX Acoustics for Active Noise Control reduces engine harmonics below 150 Hz using vehicle RPM data from the CAN bus and audio data from cabin microphones. The library generates anti-noise signals (equal in magnitude and opposite in phase to the primary noise) and emits the signals from the vehicle’s loudspeakers, cancelling unwanted engine noise.

Typically, engine noise coming into the cabin after noise attenuation materials in the door panels and floor have reduced it (by absorption) may range from 50 to 70 dB (decibels), like having an electric shaver a few centimeter-shots from the ear, whose constancy soon becomes very irritating albeit not in the deafening range. The QNX system can cancel 50 per cent or more of this noise range, leaving the car like an empty theater, and it doesn’t quite interfere with music/audio from the car’s stereo or conversation from occupant since it’s designed to discriminate between which sound is wanted and which is unwanted.

Now we have a QNX car!

Image and video are shared with permission from QNX, BlackBerry.

Footnote Today succinctly discusses one automotive concept each week day. Spare a few moments at lunch and soon enough all automobile technology will be easy pie to make sense of. Do leave us a reply and pay this forward to your network.

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2 thoughts on “Footnote Today: October 10, 2013 – QNX Announces Pure Software Solution For In-Car Noise Reduction

  1. It is amazing the leaps in technology. So basically it takes an annoying noise and blocks it with another noise we cannot hear or it just some how interrupts the noise so it is not heard. A quiet car does make for a better car ride. The only question I would have is there a possibility of any side effects to humans with the sounds it is producing that we are not hearing.

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