In a world in which the personalization of any experience is essential for companies, Kia has taken a step forward, introducing its new separate audio system, for each of the passengers of the vehicle.
We live in times in which one of the priorities of the engineers who produce consumer products of any kind is to allow the user to have the most personalized experience possible. Something that is already present in the automotive world, with elements such as the seats that we can customize in their position but also in elements such as the rear and independent screens for each seat in the vehicle, or the individual air conditioning systems, which allow each traveler decide the specific temperature you want to travel to.
This desire to personalize the user experience has reached such a level that today it even affects aspects that few thought, such as the world of audio. Until now, all passengers were forced to hear the same thing, whether it was music, radio or phone calls, having at most the possibility of “dumping” the audio towards certain speakers, be they the front, rear or a certain side, according to what you want.
Days of this simplistic approach are numbered, thanks to new technology introduced by KIA engineers that will change the way users hear sound or audio. So much so that each traveler has their own and personalized experience. Let us know some more details of this new experience as well as the main applications of this new system.
This new KIA technology is called SSZ or Separated Sound Zone. As its name suggests, the objective of this system is that each traveler has a personalized sound zone, in which to listen to their music, their calls or whatever else they want. And when we talk about personalized we also talk about personnel, since the technology of this system creates a kind of sound bubbles for each traveler, so that each one hears only what sounds in his area, but not what is heard in the others, adding an extra privacy to the sound.
For this, the SSZ system has a high technology system, with which to control the acoustic fields of the vehicle. Something that is combined with a large number of strategically placed speakers, in order to allow the user to enjoy this enveloping and personalized feeling that we are discussing. In parallel, the entire system also uses the well-known noise reduction technology, which we already know from other devices such as microphones, in order to reduce the intensity of the sound in case it may affect other users of the vehicle.
The result of this technology is that, in practice, the user will have a personal sound space, almost identical and just as protected as that obtained with headphones. Although obviously the system has the advantage of not having to use these devices, which physically isolate the passengers and which are prohibited for the driver, under heavy penalties. So all are advantages with this new system.
When it comes to raising the applications, these systems are quite a few things that we can do with this new audio mode. We have already commented on one of them, which is the option for each user to have a personal sound zone with the sound they like best. The best of all is that to load this music we have the possibility of using our own mobile, since the extended Bluetooth connectivity that the device has makes it easier for us to have independent audio connections in each of these sound zones.
This system also has several advantages for those traveling with children. The most obvious is the one that allows us to dump the sound in the front and without discomfort when the little ones are asleep in the back. Something useful also when traveling with GPS or having to answer a call. Cases in which it is not always possible to maintain complete silence when it comes to audio. Precisely, the privacy of these calls is another advantage, since the conversation will not be heard in its entirety but only the part in which the user speaks, while the part of the interlocutor remains silent.
An aspect that has advantages in reverse, in case we carry screens or a DVD with movies on the back. In this case, this audio is only in the rear but does not pass to the driver’s area, so the driver will not be distracted by what is happening in the film, adding an extra security to the trip.
Although this new system has been under development since 2014, due to its complexity we are talking about a technology that is still under development. So much so that the commercial launch of this system is scheduled for autumn 2020, in theory. A technology that, in principle, will only be present in the brand’s vehicles, due to its complexity.
Precisely this complexity and the need for a very specific specific installation is the main handicap that we find so that this separate sound system can be applied to other vehicles, as is the case today with the best car speakers that we can find. However, if this technology cannot finally be extracted as such, it is likely that it will serve as a guide for other vehicle manufacturers or companies that are dedicated to creating car audio systems take it as a basis for developing similar systems. As always, it is a matter of time that we will see how it develops and what approaches have both the KIA itself and the other actors involved in this regard.