If you want to listen to music while driving, but your passengers want to listen to other audio streams, Kia’s Separated Sound Zone technology makes it possible without the need for headphones or physical sound barriers. Expect it to feature in vehicles by 2020.
If there’s four of you in a car, it’s very unlikely you all have the same music preferences, or even want to listen to music during the journey. This usually leads to one person deciding what to listen to while the others grin and bear it, or put on some headphones and choose their own audio. Kia Motors/Hyundai have a better idea: sound zones inside a car.
Imagine sitting anywhere in a vehicle and having the option to play audio you can hear without annoying anyone else traveling with you. That’s what Kia is proposing with the company’s Separate Sound Zone (SSZ) technology.
As Green Car Congress reports, SSZ is technology Kia has been working on since 2014 and expects to ship as a feature in cars no later than 2020. It works by creating and controlling acoustic fields within the car that zone off audio for different listeners. It’s noise cancellation without the head gear, basically.
The system works with your smartphone and connects to each one using Bluetooth. You can then choose to listen to music, podcasts, or make a call without bothering others in the car. At the same time, there’s no social barriers erected by wearing headphones, so conversations within the car should still be easy to start. Kia also points out the audio barrier can limit navigation sounds to just the driver.
While it sounds more like magic than science, if Kia can pull off sound isolation without physical equipment being required it will surely prove very popular in new vehicles. When you consider we are fast approaching an era where cars drive themselves, entertainment is going to become ever more important during long trips.