Kia Motors has launched its advanced Separated Sound Zone (SSZ) technology that makes it possible for each passenger of a vehicle to experience an audio stream that has been customized based on their very own needs. The audio stream can include music, vehicle alerts and hands-free phone calls. The technology also frees up a headphone-free social space where passengers can converse freely without any auditory inputs.
SSZ technology creates and controls the acoustic fields of the car, so that it is possible for the driver and each passenger in the vehicle to get access to isolated sounds. There will be many speakers installed throughout the vehicle and these speakers come with the technology that uses scientific principles to reduce or increase audio levels of sound waves. This would minimize the overlap of sounds that is heard in each seat, and replicates the effect of the noise cancellation systems that are currently used. The best feature is that there is no need for headphones.
Commenting on the new technology, Kang-duck Ih, Research Fellow at Kia’s NVH Research Lab said that with the advent of autonomous cars, customers are likely to demand increasingly customizable entertainment options within their vehicles like the Separated Sound System. He expressed his hope that the new technology would allow drivers and passengers to can enjoy tailored, independent audio spaces, and thus a more comfortable and entertaining ride.
People do not always have the same musical tastes and hence many people use headphones while travelling. However, this can create an unnecessary social barrier when it comes to interaction with other passengers. When people travel in a vehicle having the SSZ technology, each passenger can use Bluetooth to connect their smartphone and listen to their very own music without any interference from the audio streams of other passengers. The technology can also be used to isolate hands-free phone calls to individual passengers, so that it is possible to have key conversations on the phone in relative privacy while on the move.
Passengers who would prefer to have a quiet journey would also benefit from this technology while the driver still gets access to navigation sounds, or various alerts that could help him to control the vehicle. This is particularly useful when children are included among the passengers so that they are not disturbed by alerts or navigational cues or music while napping.
Kia has been working on SSZ technology from 2014, and the completed mass production system is expected to be ready for installation in vehicles within one to two years.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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