If there are four of you in a car, it’s very unlikely you all have the same music preferences, or even want to listen to music during the journey. This usually leads to one person deciding what to listen to, while the others grin and bear it, or put on some headphones and choose their own audio. Kia /Hyundai have a better solution to this problem: create sound zones inside a car.
Imagine sitting anywhere in a vehicle and having the option to play audio you can hear without annoying anyone else traveling with you. That’s what Kia is proposing with the company’s Separate Sound Zone (SSZ) technology.
Kia has been reportedly working on the SSZ technology since 2014 and expects to ship as a standard feature in its cars by 2020. It works by creating and controlling acoustic fields within the car that zone off audio for different listeners. It’s basically the cancellation of noise without any head gear.
The system works with your smartphone and connects to each one using Bluetooth. You can then choose to listen to music, podcasts, or make a call without bothering others in the car. At the same time, there’s no social barriers erected by wearing headphones, so conversations within the car should still be easy to start. Kia also points out the audio barrier can limit navigation sounds to just the driver.
While it sounds more like magic than science, if Kia can pull off sound isolation without physical equipment being required, it will surely prove very popular in new vehicles. When you consider that we are fast approaching an era where cars will drive themselves, entertainment is going to become even more important during long trips.