When one thinks of mirrors, it's usually visual, but in tuning the noise characteristics of the 2013 Ford Escape, engineers used an acoustic "mirror" to pinpoint potential problem areas on the vehicle that could cause unwanted noise. Ford claims the use of this testing technology will help the new Escape achieve near class-leading interior noise levels.

Looking like a satellite dish, the testing tool was previously the domain of high-end European luxury automakers. Ford claims this is one of the first uses of it by an American automaker for a mainstream model. Testing took place at Ford's Aeroacoustic Wind Tunnel in Germany.

"Using the elliptical acoustic mirror helped the team pinpoint the source of the noise," said Bill Gulker, NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) supervisor. "Previous technologies required more of a trial-and-error approach to finding the issue."

Although the application to a mainstream American vehicle model is new, the science behind acoustic mirrors goes back nearly a century. The technology was used for detecting enemy aircraft along the coast of Great Britain during World War I.

Source: Ford