Ford Tests In-Car Sounds in VR
"We know sound inside a vehicle is a major factor in customer satisfaction," Mark Clapper, Ford noise, vibration and harshness thechnical director said in a release. "This is a major leap in technology that will provide Ford with a significant competitive advantage."
The sound simulator is based on a software used from both the aerospace and gaming industries. Sound is generated into headphones worn by test groups, without giving the car being tested away, as it happened with unbranded vehicles used in sound tests until now.
"We create an array of 76 different simulated sounds from data gathered about the proposed vehicle," Clapper continued. "We consider body shape and powertrain design under various road conditions and speeds. When we drive the simulator, it's amazing how we're able to recognize sounds with our ears that we would have never picked up otherwise from that mountain of data."
As an example of the achievements made by Ford when it comes to the sound of their cars is the 2010 Taurus, which achieved, according to the manufacturer, "the quietest levels ever recorded in Ford labs following wind tunnel tests."
"A 3 or 4 dBA variance in the 30-mph test results is definitely a noticeable difference to drivers or passengers. These are meaningful improvements that significantly enhance the driving environment," Mark McCarthy, Vehicle Program NVH added.
"We made a concerted effort to fine-tune every component that could contribute to noise so that we can deliver a driving experience that rivals some of the high-end luxury brands, but at an affordable price."