We all know the pain of being in a car for a long trip and being forced to listen to the music someone else likes when you hate the genre. Kia has some new tech is it talking up that could mean you never have to hear dad’s easy listening music again. The tech is called Separated Sound Zone (SSZ) and it allows each passenger to listen to different music without having to resort to headphones.
Each passenger gets an audio feed tailored to their needs including music, hands-free phone calls, and vehicle alerts. Passengers are still able to converse freely with this system according to Kia. The SSZ tech creates and controls the acoustic fields of the car to isolate sounds. The “many” speakers in the vehicle use scientific principles to reduce or increase audio levels of sound waves.
That prevents the overlap of sound waves being heard in each seat and creates an effect like current noise cancellation systems without needing headphones. Kia thinks this tech will be increasingly important as automation takes over driving duties leaving passengers using more entertainment on long trips.
The system allows each passenger to connect their smartphone via Bluetooth and listen to their own music without interfering with the audio streams of other passengers. Hands-free calls can also be isolated to specific passengers.
The tech is also able to eliminate unnecessary sounds for passengers but keep them for the driver. This means navigation sounds or driver alerts from the car. Kia thinks that is a particularly big deal for people with sleeping babies in the car. SSZ has been in development since 2014 and is expected to land for vehicles in the next one to two years.