Wind tunnels, rolling roads, test tracks…they’re all part of a car makers armoury and now, thanks to Bosch, so is vehicle acoustics testing.

Bosch has revealed its new acoustics test centre with the technology and parts making company suggesting vehicle acoustics and NVH testing are becoming a quality marker in new cars. Indeed, in announcing the opening of its acoustics test centre in Germany that hybrid and electric cars provided a significant challenge with NVH and that noise pollution laws in Europe are becoming stricter.

“Acoustics are a major issue in automotive engineering. Firstly, government regulations for vehicle registration set out limits for external noise levels. Secondly, car buyers and owners expect less vibration and noise and a smoother, quieter ride. New electric and hybrid drives also present considerable and often very specific challenges for acoustics experts seeking to improve NVH,” Bosch said.

Bosch acoustics centre

Currently, vehicle engineers test a vehicle’s NVH by test-driving it on public roads, but Bosch claims that external factors beyond the control of engineers, including the weather, ambient noise or even “the driver’s profile may skew the measured results. This is why test series are often long and tedious, with results that are hardly reproducible.”

Bosch said its acoustic test centre provided a “far more efficient means of testing and comparing new or modified components and calibrations under uniform conditions and with a view to their impact on the overall vehicle”.

Bosch acoustics centre

“In our test center, we can quickly detect noise sources that impair driving comfort and develop countermeasures together with our customers,” said Jörg Vetter, Senior Manager, New Calibration Services & Products at Bosch Engineering.

So, how does it all work? Built around a chassis dynamometer capable of handling speeds up to 250km/h and with four independently controlled rollers to allow the simulation of cornering and more and it’s designed for combustion engine vehicles, hybrid- or electric vehicles, all-wheel, front-wheel and rear-wheel drive vehicles. The centre even includes a bench-based test area to cater for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Bosch acoustics centre

“A well-insulated test cabin and silent rollers reduce background noise to a minimum so engineers can measure even very low sound pressure levels. This is a great competitive advantage, especially for testing electric vehicles. Without a combustion engine to mask automotive noise, the acoustics of powertrain peripherals are far more perceptible,” Bosch said. After a vehicle’s acoustics have been measured, Bosch said its sound studio team is able to develop virtual solutions for the vehicle tested and trial it virtually.

Question: Does a vehicle’s acoustics come into the buying equation for you?


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