Kia Ends Arguments Over Audio Control

The automaker’s Separated Sound Zone technology allows each passenger in a vehicle to listen to different music, without headphones. The technology can mute sounds unnecessary for passengers but crucial for the driver.

Alan Harman, Correspondent

August 17, 2018

1 Min Read
KiaTech photo Alan Harman
Kia technicians work on the next-generation Separated Sound Zone (SSZ) technology.

Kia debuts its next-generation Separated Sound Zone (SSZ) technology allowing each passenger in a vehicle to listen to different music, without headphones.

The audio stream tailored to individual needs includes music, hands-free phone calls and vehicle alerts, while maintaining a headphone-free social space where passengers can converse freely.

SSZ technology creates and controls the acoustic fields of the car, allowing the driver and each passenger to hear isolated sounds.

The many speakers installed in the vehicle feature technology that uses scientific principles to reduce or increase audio levels of sound waves.

Kang-duck Ih, research fellow at Kia’s noise, vibration and harshness research lab, says this negates the overlap of sounds being heard in each seat, creating the same effect as current noise-cancellation systems, but without the need for headphones.

“Customers in the autonomous navigation era will demand increasingly customizable entertainment options within their vehicles, which includes technological innovations such as the Separated Sound System.” Kang-duck Ih says in a statement.

When traveling in a vehicle equipped with next-generation SSZ technology, each passenger can connect their smartphone via Bluetooth and listen to their own music without interference from, or interfering with, other passengers’ audio streams.

When the SSZ is used, hands-free phone calls also can be isolated to individual passengers, ensuring privacy when having phone conversations on the move.

The technology can mute sounds unnecessary for passengers but crucial for the driver, such as route instructions or other alerts. The SSZ system isolates these sounds, maintaining a quiet area for the other passengers.

SSZ technology has been in development since 2014, and Kia says the completed mass-production system is expected to be ready for installation in vehicles within one to two years.

About the Author(s)

Alan Harman

Correspondent, WardsAuto

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