Hyundai Develops Car Audio Technology Using ‘Seperate Sound Zones'
【Summary】Hyundai Motor Group unveiled its "separate sound zone control system," Sunday, via its blog and on YouTube. The system allows each occupant in a car to listen to different music without disrupting others.
A popular feature on upmarket cars today is separate dual or multi-zone climate controls for the driver, passenger or rear seat occupants, allowing each passenger to set their own personalized heat or air conditioning setting.
The Hyundai Motor Group is developing a similar technology for the car's audio system, allowing each passenger to listen to their favorite music or make phone calls without disturbing the others.
Hyundai Motor Group unveiled its "separate sound zone control system," Sunday, via its blog and on YouTube. The system allows each occupant in a car to listen to different music without disrupting others.
The technology is referred to as ‘Separated Sound Zone' (SSZ) technology and allows each passenger of a vehicle to experience an audio stream tailored to their individual needs, receive hands-free phone calls or vehicle alerts, while maintaining a headphone-free social space where passengers can converse freely.
Hyundai is the world's first carmaker to develop such a system.
"This system is necessary for autonomous driving, because passengers want more entertainment in self-driving cars," said Research Fellow Ih Kang-duck at Hyundai's NVH Research Lab, developer of the system. "Passengers may regard a song that excites a driver as a noise. The system guarantees each passenger the choice of their own songs."
For example, drivers can listen to a news radio program, while passengers listen to music.
The system works by decreases or increases wavelengths of sounds from multiple speakers in a car, it allows drivers and passengers sitting in the front seats and backseats to listen to different music without interference, as if the seats have soundproof walls.
Ih said Hyundai researchers discovered the optimal arrangement of speakers for the system. Passengers can listen to different music without wearing earphones or headphones, they can continue their conversations with each other while listening to music.
"I want cars to be family-friendlier spaces with the separated sound zones for each passenger," Ih said.
In addition, this ground-breaking technology can eliminate unnecessary sounds for the passenger, but provide them for the driver.
Fow example, turn-by-turn navigation sounds, or various alerts allow the driver to focus on controlling the vehicle, while the SSZ system isolates these sounds, maintaining a quiet area for the other passengers. This has a particularly strong application for drivers with a sleeping child in the vehicle.
SSZ technology has been in development since 2014, and the completed mass production system is expected to be ready for installation in vehicles within one to two years, Hyundai says.
The system also enables drivers to make private phone calls via Bluetooth hands-free car kits without letting the conversation be heard by the other passengers.
"The alarms and voice messages from navigations are necessary for drivers, but not for passengers," Ih said. "Passengers will be able to enjoy silent rides thanks to the system."
"If you have any idea for uses of the separated sound zone control system, it can be implemented for wider and various experience," Ih added.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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