A German automotive supply company has announced a system that applies basic principles of sonic tuning to produce an exhaust system capable of rendering nearly any sound desired. The problem of hybrid cars being too quiet for pedestrian safety is well-known, but the company also sees other, more 'cosmetic' uses of the system in its future.

The system works by locating a single speaker inside the exhaust system, which replaces the standard muffler on nearly any car. The speaker can then be tuned to emit sounds that selectively eliminate or enhance sounds as the owner sees fit.

The company, Eberspacher GmbH and its North American subsidiary, designed the ActiveSilence system to be able to cancel out, augment, or alter the sounds arriving in the unique muffler design to render just about any sound imaginable from the tailpipe - including, as the name implies, no sound at all, reports The Detroit News.

"It allows you to completely calibrate the sound," said Martin Romzek, Eberspacher's vice president of engineering. "We can cancel the bad sounds and enhance those that might be pleasing."

Lotus engineering revealed a similar, though significantly more complex, system earlier this year. Also designed in part to combat the problem of dangerously quiet hybrid and electric cars, the system can be used to simulate other engine sounds, like the ActiveSilence unit, as well.