Compared to air and water pollution, noise tends to get a low priority.
Still, the European Union estimates that some 20% of its population suffers from noise levels that scientists and health experts consider unacceptable.
That's close to 80 million people being annoyed and getting their sleep disturbed - in Europe alone. And many more live in areas where noise reaches seriously annoying levels during the day.
Transport part of the problem
Aircraft, motor vehicles and transportation systems are major sources of man-made noise in the world. For obvious reasons, it is in urban areas that noise is a major issue.
Some noise pollution can be eliminated through urban and traffic planning. But since commercial transport in many respects is the life blood of the economy, less noisy vehicles are called for.
The current noise emission limit for heavy trucks in most parts of the world including the EU, India and South Korea is 80 decibels (dB).
The Volvo Group is continuously working to measure noise and vibration characteristics in engine and driveline components. Our sound engineers use both insulation and alternative design solutions to make everything from engines and transmissions to axles, fans and air intakes quieter. Our sound engineers also estimate that special trucks with embedded acoustic solutions and under driving conditions adapted to marshalling (speeds below 25 km/h) can fulfil specific sound demands in sensitive areas.
Next step: trailer and body
It doesn't stop at reducing noise from the engine. At speeds from 50 km/h for example, it is the vehicle's tires that make the noise rather than the driveline. This means that the entire vehicle, including tractor, superstructure, trailer and tires, must be worked on in order to efficiently eliminate noise at all speeds.