Ford has filed a patent to use fake engine noises in hopes of saving fuel.
How does that even make sense? Well, the patent itself is for “increasing the number of cylinders in an internal combustion engine in a virtual fashion,” but essentially it’s a device that generates “engine noise at a time period between two directly successive ignition events of an internal combustion engine.” In other words, Ford hopes that by making its smaller engines sound louder, that drivers will shift earlier instead of revving up their engines and wasting gas.
Take the company’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine for example. Although it’s built to have a balance between performance and fuel efficiency, owners may not be getting the best fuel economy by continuously driving in a higher RPM band than intended.
The American automaker has found that many drivers “shift by ear” rather than watching the tachometer, and since these smaller engines make less noise, ideal shift points are being missed. This particular patent will virtually increase the cylinder count, making the smaller engine sound larger with artificial noises in hopes that drivers shift sooner.
The technology could be used to virtually increase the cylinder count two- or three fold and Ford believes it will be most beneficial on its smaller turbocharged two- and three-cylinder engines with manual transmissions.
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