Hyundai Motor Company became the first auto maker to announce it will bring to its cars the ability for driver and passengers to listen to different music selections at the same time. The feature, called “separated sound zones,” will be available in a year or two, it announced.
With separated sound zones, the passenger and driver can hear their own music or phone calls without disturbing the person next to them. The rear seat is a third zone so kids can listen to their music, dad can hear the news and mom can talk on the phone with some privacy. And because there are no headphones involved, everyone can still easily talk to one another.
Hyundai announced the technology on YouTube as shown here.
Separate sound zones are created by speaker placement as well as software that controls the sounds’ reflective waves and output.
Hyundai said it “uses scientific principles to reduce or increase audio levels of sound waves. 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.”
Hyundai believes that this technology will be especially important as cars become autonomous and passengers will want their own tailored audio spaces.
It noted that headphones create an “unnecessary social barrier” isolating passengers.