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Bose is bringing its QuietComfort tech to cars to fight road noise

By measuring vibrations in the car's body, the feature can keep the cabin quieter.

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Bose's noise cancellation tech will now focus on road noise as well as engine noise.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Travelers might already be familiar with Bose's lineup of QuietComfort noise-canceling headphones, and now the audio company is bringing that technology to the automotive space. The QuietComfort RNC, for Road Noise Control, feature is intended to supplement Bose's existing in-car sound-canceling technologies.

Active noise cancellation in cars isn't new, but Bose says the difference is that most systems -- including the company's own Engine Harmonic Cancellation -- focus only on reducing engine noise. RNC, by contrast, is intended to reduce the volume of the annoying sounds produced by tires running over pavement.

The technology uses accelerometers that measure vibrations on the car's body. Then Bose's software plays audio through the car's speakers to cancel out those vibrations and noises. Microphones in the cabin also "listen" for road noise to help the system adapt to different surfaces, Bose says. The noise cancellation can even adjust as the car ages.

Aside from just improving in-car comfort, Bose's technology could help automakers fight weight gain in new models. The company notes that traditional sound-deadening techniques, like extra insulation or thicker window glass, add a lot of weight. Keeping weight low is critical for automakers' efforts to improve vehicle efficiency, especially with electric cars.

Bose says it plans to have QuietComfort RNC in production cars by 2021, so you won't have to wait too much longer for the technology to make your commute a little more serene.

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