Hyundai cars to have ‘separate sound zones’

Hyundai Motor Group unveiled its “separate sound zone control system,” Sunday, via its blog and on YouTube. The system allows each occupant in a car to listen to different music without disrupting others. Hyundai is the world’s first carmaker to develop such a system. “This system is necessary for autonomous driving, because passengers want more entertainment in self-driving cars,” said Hyundai Motor research fellow Ih Kang-duck, developer of the system. “Passengers may regard a song that excites a driver as a noise. The system guarantees each passenger the choice of their own songs.”

For example, drivers can listen to the radio, while passengers listen to songs. Because the system decreases or increases wavelengths of sounds from multiple speakers in a car, it allows drivers and passengers sitting in the front seats and backseats to listen to different music without interference, as if the seats have soundproof walls.

Ih said Hyundai researchers discovered the optimal arrangement of speakers for the system. As the 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,” Ih said. The system also enables drivers to make private phone calls via Bluetooth hands-free car kits without letting the conversation be heard by the other passengers.

In addition, passengers can be free from being annoyed by alarms and voices from navigations. “The alarms and voice messages from navigations are necessary for drivers, but not for passengers,” Ih said. “Passengers will be able to enjoy silent rides thanks to the system.”Hyundai said it began research on the separated sound zone control system in 2014.

It has already finished testing the system embedded in real cars, and will install the system into its vehicles that will be produced in a couple of years. “If you have any idea for uses of the separated sound zone control system, it can be implemented for wider and various experience,” Ih said. Biz & Tech

Pix: A Hyudai showroom