Bose’s Quest to Turn Cars into Rolling Noise-Canceling Headphones

Jan 8, 2019

Bose has new offering from its portfolio of Active Sound Management solutions for cars: Bose QuietComfort Road Noise Control (RNC), now available to global vehicle manufacturers.

Bose QuietComfort RNC tackles issue that car makers and consumers have dealt with for decades: how to minimize unwanted sound in the cabin caused by driving over rough roads, grooved concrete, and uneven pavement.

Bose pioneered noise cancellation for consumers with its iconic QuietComfort headphones, according to the company. And Bose has applied its research and engineering in this area to other industries, including automotive, to help deliver quieter, more enjoyable experiences. Since 2010, the Bose Automotive division has provided car makers with EHC, a highly targeted technology for reducing undesirable engine noise. But eliminating more dominant road noise is a bigger challenge.

“For years, we’ve been asked why we can’t simply adapt our noise cancelling headphone technology to vehicle cabins for a quieter driving experience,” said John Feng, manager of active sound management solutions for Bose Automotive. “But we know it’s much more difficult to control noise in a large space like a car cabin compared to the relatively small area around your ears. However, through research advances and our relentless efforts to solve tough problems, we’ve achieved a level of road noise reduction that sets Bose apart from competitive offerings.”

Sensing, Processing, and Reducing Road Noise

Bose QuietComfort RNC uses a combination of accelerometers, proprietary signal-processing software, microphones, and the vehicle’s audio system to electronically control unwanted sound. Accelerometers mounted on the vehicle body enable a Bose algorithm to continuously measure vibrations that create noise. This information is then used to calculate an acoustic cancellation signal, which is delivered through the vehicle’s speakers to reduce the targeted noise.

Microphones placed inside the cabin monitor residual noise levels, allowing the system to adapt the control signal for optimized performance over different road surfaces, while automatically adjusting over time as the vehicle ages.

Bose will collaborate with manufacturers during the vehicle development process to custom-engineer QuietComfort RNC into the car, according to the company. Tuning adjustments can be made quickly and easily throughout the development cycle, and the solution is available for vehicles with or without Bose premium sound systems. QuietComfort RNC is planned to be in production models by the end of 2021.

Active Sound Management

Bose Active Sound Management technologies help car makers more effectively control the sound environment inside the car, according to the company. Its algorithms and signal processing can be used to create precise sound characteristics specified by the car manufacturer.

Using proprietary technologies, Bose Active Sound Management can reduce unwanted engine and powertrain noise, enhance more desirable engine sounds, and now, minimize noise from the road.