Have Kia Changed The Face Of In-Car Audio?

Mon 13th Aug 2018

Korean car manufacturer Kia may have put in end to in-car arguments over what music is on the stereo with their new ‘Separated Sound Zone’ technology.

The tech, which is expected to be in vehicles by 2020, allows both driver and passengers to listen to different audio streams, without the need for headphones or physical sound barriers.

Whilst for years the in-car audio has been a huge bone of contention over who gets to choose the playlist, the new SSZ feature from Kia is likely to get rid of the need for headphones or having to endure dodgy music from a forgotten decade.

Kia have been working on the technology since 2014, which works by creating and controlling acoustic fields within the car that zone off audio for different listeners, much in the same way that noise cancellation works in the more hi-tech headphones.

The SSZ system works with bluetooth, which allows passengers to listen to their own audio, or make a call, without anyone else having to listen. Kia says that the audio barrier can also limit navigation sounds to just the driver.

Customers in the autonomous navigation era will demand increasingly customizable entertainment options within their vehicles, which includes technological innovations such as the Separated Sound System,” said Kang-Duck Ih, Research Fellow at Kia’s NVH Research Lab. “I hope by providing drivers and passengers with tailored, independent audio spaces, they will experience a more comfortable and entertaining transportation environment.”

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