Advancements in tech, engineering and design have changed how car interiors are built. From Neosupreme seat covers, to voice activated interior equipment, the interiors of vehicles today are different from what they were before.
If technology from the German company, Continental, becomes ubiquitous, speakers will follow cassettes out of cars. The auto-components supplier has developed a new tech that allows certain parts of a car’s interior vibrate in order to generate high-fidelity audio at the same level of the currently available premium sound system, which is available on the market. It allows the audio to come from the car’s interior itself, meaning that, in the future, those Neosupreme seat covers might have the bass dropping from inside them.
This new development will transform rear windows into subwoofers, while the windshield, dashboard, floor and seat frames will be producing the midrange. The posts between the windshield and the doors, known as the A-pillars, will be tweeters, resulting in an audio system akin to enhanced version of current surround sound systems.
Dominik Haefele, leader of the tech’s development team, describes it as 3D immersive audio, that will allow people to experience audio in a new way; since the sound, they can feel it around them, as if there’s an extra dimension the audio operates in.
The lynchpin of the tech are small devices that use magnets wrapped in copper coil in order to turn electrical energy into mechanical energy; vibrations, in other words, audio. These transducers, when a current runs through them, vibrate. Continental has discovered a way to put them into car interiors in order to transform the interior panels into speakers.
The system, dubbed Ac2ated Sound, should enter mass production by 2021, though Mr. Haefele offered no details as to which manufacturers would offer this tech, though it’s worth noting that Audi, BMW, and Mercedes are some of Continental frequent customers.
Obviously, this new tech has its own issues, though Haefele says that, should an accident occur, small damage like chipped windshields should not affect the quality of the audio negatively. More extensive damage, however, would require the replacement of the panel in order to restore audio quality.
Experts on vehicular interior design say that the primary problem with the system, and other speakerless audio systems would likely be removing the extant audio, the vibrations, hums and rattles that come from the vehicle’s interior parts, allowing for complete integration of the audio components with the rest of the vehicle.