Ford’s sound idea for keeping the peace
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DETROIT, Oct 6 — Ford is adding a Good Neighbour Mode to its latest generation Mustang so that its rumbling V8 doesn't wake up the entire street.
While pretty much everyone can agree on the fact that the new Mustang is a good looking car, the same can't be said of the sound it makes. When its 5-litre V8 is fired up and running at medium to high revs, the noise levels can go well beyond 80 decibels. That puts it on a par with lawn mowers, coffee grinders, food processors and hairdryers in terms of aural annoyance.
“Sounds upwards of 80 decibels can start to irritate people,” said Steve von Foerster, who heads up Ford's user experience team in product development in the US and who talks from experience.
The rumbling V8 under his own car's hood led to complaints and even calls to the police from his neighbours. So, to avoid making enemies of the other families living in his street, von Foerster — a former Ford engineer — and his team developed a Good Neighbour Mode for the Mustang's exhaust system.
“I love the sound of the V8 engine, but it can be loud, and you can't annoy people like that in your neighborhood. I thought, ‘There has to be a way to give people more control over the engine's sound,'” said von Foerster.
The solution, first glimpsed back in August, is essentially a two-stage exhaust system, something that is now a standard feature on the majority of supercars from Aston Martin to Lamborghini. At lower revs, the exhaust gases travel further through more piping before exiting via the tailpipe, this reduces noise levels.
But when your foot is planted firmly on the accelerator, a section of the exhaust is bypassed completely, boosting efficiency and engine performance (as gases can escape more quickly and in turn gasoline is delivered to the cylinders for combustion more quickly), but also the amount of noise the car generates.
However, what makes the system on the Mustang so innovative — other than the fact it's fitted to an affordable sportscar rather than an exotic dream machine — is that it can be digitally programmed.
Rather than bypass based on the pressure on the accelerator, you can set specific times of the day when the car needs to be quieter, such as the moment when leaving for work and the time when you usually return home. And when it's switched on, the noise levels drop by as much as 10 decibels. — AFP-Relaxnews