What if you didn’t have to depend on the speakers in your car to listen to your friend’s music when you pass him the aux cord? How would you hear anything in your car then? This automotive parts supplier might have assembled the future of car audio systems.
German company Continental has developed a sound system that is independent of built-in speakers for cars. Called Ac2ated Sound, the new system is said to use surface vibrations to deliver sound through tiny transducers called actuators. In the same manner that sound goes through string instruments, the actuators are connected behind panels in the car where they make micro-vibrations that are carried by surfaces across the interior of the vehicle including dashboards, car doors, ceilings, and more. Varying frequency ranges can be accessed throughout different parts of a car’s interior that they are suited to deliver.
According to Continental, Ac2ated Sound is able to remove 90 percent of the weight of typical car speakers (which is about 30 pounds). This means that it can make cars lighter while drawing less power from the car’s battery increasing vehicular efficiency. It has even been checked out by violin-making expert Martin Schleske to reference the quality of the resolute sound of the system.
However, critics have pointed out that audiophiles have not been called in to test the sound quality. Another problem that Ac2ated Sound faces is the brand loyalty customers have for luxury car speakers from companies like Bang & Olufsen, JL Audio, or Kicker. The competition amongst audiophile-drivers to have the best and most expensive audio systems in their cars might hinder Continental trying to find their place in the market.
On the other hand, car companies like Volkswagen and Toyota have begin integrating transducers in their vehicles or have their own version of speaker-less audio that may help create the push for demand in speaker-less sound systems. Even though the technology may be a few years away, Continental will be showcasing the Ac2ated Sound system at the Consumer Electronic Show (or CES) by January 2018.