One of the new pieces of hardware that Tesla installed in the refreshed Model S and Model X is a pair of active noise-cancelling microphones embedded in the two front seats. They weren’t used until now, but with a recent software update, 2021.44.5, Tesla added a feature with a self-explanatory name, called Active Road Noise Reduction, and so they are finally used.
The new microphones can pick up all the road noise that makes its way into the cabin and then anti-noise, as Tesla calls it in the release notes for the latest update. Tesla also says that through using the audio system’s speakers, the vehicle is able to create quiet zones around the passengers.
Active noise cancelling in cars is actually nothing new and it’s been available on many models for quite a few years. Cars like the Lexus LS, Cadillac XTS, Infiniti Q60, Lincoln Continental and even the Honda Accord have this feature, but it’s actually far more common than you might think.
But does it really make a difference, and if it does, how perceivable is it? Well, being a brand new feature on a Tesla, owners of models that have the feature were bound to test it, record their test and then post it on YouTube. Surprisingly, when we searched, we only found one video that shows Active Road Noise Reduction in action was uploaded by Michael Hopwood.
He emphasises in his video’s description that it is ‘definitely not noise cancellation at this point‘ and also proceeds to describe his vehicle, which is a 2021 Model S Long Range riding on 19-inch wheels wrapped in Continental Pro Contact all-season tyres.
Keep in mind this feature will only be available on the refreshed Model S and Model X, not the Model 3 and Model Y. The two smaller models will need to be fitted with microphones for that and since they are less refined on the move than the larger models, perhaps they may actually need it more.
Update 2021.44.5 also adds additional features, such as driver profiles, driver door unlock mode, separate control for rear climate functions in the refreshed Model S and X and Tesla also says it has improved Supercharging for some vehicles, but it did not say which ones this applies to.