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AKM, Silentium Partner on Road Noise Cancellation Tech 

As vehicle electrification accelerates, keeping noise down inside vehicles is a growing challenge.

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Asahi Kasei Microdevices (AKM) has entered into a license agreement with Israel-based Silentium for automotive Active Road Noise Cancellation (ARNC). Silentium’s Quiet Bubble software technology will be incorporated into one of AKM’s audio voice processors for distribution worldwide. Sample shipment is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2022. 

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The electrification of vehicles is accelerating, and the car is transitioning into a third living space. Still, keeping the inside of electric vehicles quiet is a major challenge for car manufacturers. Active Road Noise Cancellation (ARNC) technology reduces the road noise in milliseconds, ensuring a comfortable user experience for the passengers, the two companies say.

“The road to electrification has revealed some unexpected challenges for automotive OEMs ranging from safety and increased costs to comfort for the end user,” said Naoyuki Kurita, chief marketing officer at AKM. “One of the biggest complaints I hear from our EV customers is about how loud the road sounds compared to their ICE car. This will become an even greater issue when we start seeing more autonomous vehicles on the road.” 

The cooperation brings ARNC technology to a new level by combining AKM’s expertise in low latency hardware components and Silentium’s know-how of noise-cancelling software. The solution provided by both companies optimizes the control signal path from the reference sensors to the loudspeakers to achieve high-speed transmission of vehicle signals and low-latency algorithm processing. This is performed by optimizing specific parts of AKM’s Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) so that the measured vehicle signals are quickly sent into the company’s Digital Signal Processor (DSP) unit, where the Silentium low-latency algorithm Quiet Bubble software is hosted. 

Additional reductions in latency can come from the vehicle acoustics side with the use of near-field loudspeakers in the headrest or at other locations near the passenger’s head. Since the hardware, software and acoustic domains are all comprised of low-latency paths, this solution delivers in-vehicle broadband noise cancellation performance comparable to the premium noise-cancelling headphone experience. 

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“The rapid shift to plug-in hybrid and full battery electric vehicles is having a significant and long-lasting impact on the vehicle interior, with some noises like tire noise becoming much more prominent. Reducing unwanted noises in the cabin now enables more than ever a more focused, relaxed and safer drive experience. AKM’s sophisticated IC products, featuring cost effective analog/digital signal processing combined with Silentium’s state of the art proprietary broadband active acoustics technology makes a quieter car interior available and affordable to every car user,” added Anthony Manias, head of Automotive at Silentium. 

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