Lightning or fireworks? Ford EU develops ‘noise-cancelling kennel’ for scaredy dogs and cats

January 14, 2019

Thousands of dog lovers (and cat lovers) worldwide are clamoring for a new Ford prototype developed by the automotive company’s European engineers—although it is not available commercially and will never be taken on the road.

While “thunder jackets” and “thunder shirts” already are bestsellers—calming canine  and feline anxiety during electrical storms and other high-volume events, including fireworks celebrations—those who have been granted access to Ford’s experimental “noise-cancelling kennel” say that it would beat everything else on the market.

And pet owners are willing to pay for the new teepee-like chamber, even though it is not in production. Among the thousands of emails that Ford Europe has received is a typical one from Milla29, who begged, “Make the prototype available for potential customers? I am sure that there are thousands—if not more—people willing to buy this, even if it is just a prototype.”

According to Ford Europe’s blog page, n estimated 45% of dogs in the UK show signs of fear when they hear fireworks—causing distress to owners and their families too.

Graeme Hall, “The Dogfather”, a UK-based dog trainer who has helped 5,000 pets and their owners with behavioral problems, comments, “Many animals find fireworks scary—and compared to people, dogs can hear things that are four times further away, and across a much wider range of frequencies. Preparing in advance of firework displays is the key—and part of that is to identify a place where our pets feel safe and happy.”

The idea was inspired by the noise-cancelling technology that Ford has  introduced in its newest Edge SUV—ensuring a quieter journeys for drivers and passengers. When microphones pick up high levels of noise from the engine or transmission, this is counteracted using opposing sound waves from the car’s audio system.

The prototype kennel uses the same technology. Once microphones inside the prototype kennel detect the sound of the fireworks, a built-in audio system emits opposing frequencies that, in effect, cancel out the noise completely—or at least reduce it significantly. High-density cork, ideal for sound proofing was an integral part of the design.

Lyn West, brand content manager, Marketing Communications, Ford Europe, explained, “We wondered how the technologies we use in our cars could help people in other situations. Making sure dogs and their owners could enjoy a stress-free New Year’s Eve seemed like the perfect application for our Active Noise Control system, and we have a few more ideas in progress as to how our everyday lives might benefit from a little Ford know-how.”

The automaker promises that its new  noise-cancelling kennel is the first in a series of initiatives—called Interventions—that apply automotive know-how to help solve everyday problems.

Research contact: @FordEU

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