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Industry-first: HARMAN Quiets the Car by Minimizing Road Noise

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Reinforcing its commitment to making the driving experience safer, quieter and more sustainable, HARMAN, the premium global audio and infotainment group (NYSE:HAR) , is expanding its HALOsonic suite of noise management solutions, which the company has co-developed with Lotus Engineering using patented Active Noise Control Technologies. Representing the first of its kind in the automotive industry, HARMAN’s Road Noise Cancellation (RNC) technology minimizes unwanted noise generated when the vehicle tires roll across the road surface. RNC, which is presently ready for market implementation, enables automakers to use lighter weight materials and improve fuel economy without compromising on vehicle noise levels.

In pursuing ways to lessen the environmental impact of vehicles and raise fuel efficiency, automakers are reducing vehicle weight, often by using less noise-dampening insulation in the car’s interior. The use of lighter materials, however, increases perceptible road noise inside the vehicle, which then penetrates the interior (and passenger ears) and also compromises the audio experience of the on-board infotainment system. The traditional NVH (Noise, Vibration, and Harshness) methods have difficulties mitigating these issues satisfactorily – and these technologies also tend to add weight, which cancels out the fuel economy effect of using lighter materials.

With this latest HARMAN solution, drivers and passengers can soon look forward to a quieter ride. The HARMAN HALOsonic noise management suite comprises a Road Noise Cancellation solution (RNC) which detects and neutralizes unwanted road noise, and thereby creates opportunities to improve vehicle weight and handling without impacting interior noise levels.

The RNC solution is the first of its kind in the automotive industry. It is based on the principle of using “anti-noise” to counteract road noise. To implement RNC, the chassis of the vehicle is fitted with accelerometers which enable the system to measure correlation of vibration coming from the road and the resulting noise inside the cabin. Subsequently, the proprietary algorithm in the controller creates inverse sound waves (coming from each speaker) through the car’s audio system to cancel out the noise caused by the road-induced vibration. It is also able to cope with the broadband nature of road noise, with its wide range of frequencies. The HALOsonic RNC solution can reduce the peaks of the noise across the target frequency range, creating a quieter experience within the vehicle cabin. With RNC, HARMAN’s uses its patented True Audio technology to ensure that only unwanted engine or road noise is cancelled, while preserving music signals in a similar audio range.

Commenting on Road Noise Cancelation, Michael Mauser, President of HARMAN Lifestyle Division, says: “We’re excited to be pioneering these innovative technologies for noise management inside and outside the vehicle with HALOsonic, of which RNC is a key part. An uncompromised sound experience is more important than ever to today’s drivers, and less noise also means drivers are less likely to become tired or distracted. By taking disturbing road noise out of the mix, we can provide automakers with greater opportunities to exploit lightweight materials without the risk that the perception of quality and harmony in the car will be compromised.”

Colin Peachey, Group Chief Engineer, Controls and Electrical at Lotus Engineering, adds: “Lotus Engineering has many years of experience in developing vehicles, not only for the world renowned Lotus Cars but also its global engineering client base of car companies around the world. Lotus has vast knowledge of both the dynamics and noise performance of chassis systems. Indeed Active Noise control was a spin off technology from when Lotus pioneered active suspension for its Formula 1 cars in the 1980s and over the years, Lotus has led the way in this field of advanced research and development of technologies for cars of the future.”

HALOsonic consists of a suite of noise management technologies to improve noise levels and to enhance and contour sound inside and outside the vehicle. In addition to RNC, HALOsonic comprises Engine Order Cancelation (EOC) and internal as well as external Electronic Sound Synthesis. External ESS (eESS) generates sound primarily for hybrids and electric vehicles, creating the authentic sounds which drivers and pedestrians are familiar with from combustion engines, thereby increasing safety both for drivers and other road users. Internal ESS (iESS) serves to generate unique sound signatures for vehicles to contour and accentuate the engine sound.

About HARMAN

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets premier audio, visual, infotainment and integrated control solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets. With leading brands including AKG(R), Harman Kardon(R), Infinity(R), JBL(R), Lexicon(R) and Mark Levinson (R), the Company is admired by audiophiles, musicians and the entertainment venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of approximately 16,000 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $5.3 billion for the twelve months ended June 30, 2014.

About Lotus Engineering

As part of Group Lotus plc based in Norfolk, Lotus Engineering provides comprehensive and versatile consultancy services to many of the world’s OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers and is an internationally recognised automotive engineering consultancy. Global facilities include those in the US, China and offices in Germany and Japan. Lotus is a global high-tech company, committed to driving forward technology for both Lotus Cars and its Engineering clients, spearheading research into such areas as hybrids, electric vehicles and renewable fuels.

(c) 2014 HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated. All rights reserved. Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon and Mark Levinson are trademarks of HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated, registered in the United States and/or other countries. AKG is a trademark of AKG Acoustics GmbH, registered in the United States and/or other countries. Features, specifications and appearance are subject to change without notice.

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