South Korean automaker Hyundai has officially revealed the Separate Sound Zone (SSZ) audio system technology in order to enhance the music listening experience inside a car. The technology not only allows each passenger in the vehicle to experience music of his/her own choice without a headphone but also enables passengers to attend phone calls and listen to vehicle alerts privately.
According to the manufacturer, the SSZ creates an acoustic field around the passengers and the driver, allowing them to hear isolated sounds. A special multi-speaker arrangement that adjusts audio levels automatically for each passenger is responsible for this to happen. It basically negates the overlap of sounds being heard in each seat, which creates an effect of noise cancellation without the headphones.
It also helps to maintain privacy while making phone calls in the car as well as not using headphones allows better passenger-to-passenger communication in the car. The newly introduced sound system also makes alerts like navigation sounds specific to the driver’s zone only. All these things make the Separate Sound Zone (SSZ) audio system technology a revolution in the world of not only technology but also in automobile industry.
Talking about the SSZ, Ih Kang-duck - Research Fellow at Hyundai's NVH Research Lab, developer of the system said, "This system is necessary for autonomous driving, because passengers want more entertainment in self-driving cars. Passengers may regard a song that excites a driver as a noise. The system guarantees each passenger the choice of their own songs. Hyundai researchers discovered the optimal arrangement of speakers for the system. Passengers can listen to different music without wearing earphones or headphones they can continue their conversations with each other while listening to music. I want cars to be family-friendlier spaces with the separated sound zones for each passenger. The alarms and voice messages from navigations are necessary for drivers, but not for passengers. Passengers will be able to enjoy silent rides thanks to the system. If you have any idea for uses of the separated sound zone control system, it can be implemented for wider and various experience."
Hyundai has been developing the SSZ since 2014 and according to Hyundai the mass production system based on this technology will be seen in its vehicles within one to two years. However, this new revolution does leave a number of questions unanswered such as the automaker has not yet clearly mentioned how many separate audio zones will be possible with the SSZ. Will there only be two zones divided in the front and rear or a zone for each side and left-side passengers or right-side passengers? Another question that rises is what would be the source of audio for different zones? Will the passengers be able to play music for different zones via just smartphone pairing or if there will be an option for USB playback, etc. or not?
Talking about the India launch, the automaker has not confirmed the details but we can expect it to take place soon after the technology is launched globally. However, it is likely to be limited to the top of the line models in the Hyundai and Kia lineups.
Stay tuned to V3cars.com for further updates on the Hyundai’s SSZ sound technology system.