This new sound system turns your car’s interior into one giant speaker
German automotive components supplier Continental has developed a brand new speaker-less sound system for cars it calls Ac2ated Sound. Continental says the new system can reduce the amount of weight traditionally taken up by car speakers by up to 90 %, using surface vibrations to deliver sound, much like a violin.
Continental’s system replaces speakers with actuators, that are little transducers similar to the core of a traditional speaker. The actuators are attached behind panels within the car, and make micro-vibrations that are then carried by surfaces. Dimitrios Patsouras, Continental’s engineering director in charge of noise, vibration and harshness, tells Wards auto that different components of a car’s interior are suited to deliver different types of frequency ranges. “The A-pillar is suited for high frequencies,” he says, “while the door panels, for instance, have the right properties for generating medium frequencies. kind of like speaker technology, we use large components like the roof lining or rear shelf to generate low frequencies.”
Traditional high-end car audio systems will utilize tens of speakers that add a hefty amount of weight and take up interior space. Continental says its system not only lightens the load by up to thirty pounds, it frees up significant interior space, and draws less power, making it ideal for electric car options. while these are definite perks and can facilitate make a more spacious, fuel-efficient car, there are concerns. Continental admits that while it’s invited sound experts like violin maker Martin Schleske to take a listen, the system hasn’t been tested with audiophiles. Also, if entire panels are used to transmit sound, the experience may be muffled if a traveller leans against a door.
Those looking to purchase in the higher-end car market may also be turned off by an actuator system, preferring standard premium choices like Bang & Olufsen instead. plenty of car audio supremacy is defined by who has the foremost and best speakers. Continental’s system is projected to have a premium version with up to 12 channels, but the company admits it’s “going against that paradigm a bit,” and believes their initial target market are “high-quality, middle-end” vehicles.
Some cars, like certain Volkswagens, presently use actuators in different ways — like at the base of a car’s windscreen to emit a fizzy noise depending on your driving mode, or within the exhaust system to boost engine sound. this is also not the first speaker-less sound system for cars. In 2011, Bongiovi debuted a similar system using transducers for Toyota vehicles.
Continental says it’s still a few years away from bringing the technology to market, but will demonstrate the Ac2ated audio system in Jan at CES in Las Vegas.