With Ac2ated Sound, the Cars of the Future Won’t Have Speakers
A leading German automotive manufacturing company has a created an in-car audio solution that does away with speakers.
Continental AG, more commonly known as Continental, has developed ‘Ac2ated Sound,’ an actuator-driven audio system that provides sound using the car’s plastic interior trim panels. The actuators vibrate the plastic surfaces to create sound.
The ‘Ac2ated Sound’ system works similar to the core of a conventional speaker. However, instead of using an oscillating membrane the way speakers to, the transducers ‘excite’ the surfaces of the vehicle.
By doing away with speakers, Continental’s audio system lowers the overall weight of the vehicle while also reducing box volume as well as electricity consumption.
Developing ‘Ac2ated Sound’
At first, even Continental’ head of advanced development Karsten Michels says he was extremely skeptical about going speaker-less because before Ac2ated Sound happened, the quality of the sound produced by other similar systems have been historically bad.
“I didn’t even want to hear it,” said Michels.
His impression changed when he listened to Continental’s new system. “I didn’t believe it a first,” he said.
After hearing what Ac2ated Sound is capable of, Michels wonders whether the more established names in audio, such as Bang & Olufsen and Harman, should be worried.
How Ac2ated Sound works
Continental’s innovative system bases itself on the fact that the car’s interior is equipped with various frequencies—the A-pillars have the high, the door panels have the mid-range, while the roof and rear shelf have the lows. Ac2ated Sound will use actuators to send vibrations in these areas and stimulate them to emit sound.
This is similar to how an acoustic violin or guitar works, with the strings being actuators.
A revolution in audio
It is estimated that speakers add up to 20 kilograms of weight in today’s cars. According to Continental, their audio solution only amounts to 2 kilograms. That can potentially make a car 18 kilograms lighter, which is a massive improvement.
Aside from a lighter ride, another benefit of Ac2ated Sound is in the area of ‘box volume.’ Size takes up space, and without speakers, car manufacturers will have more space in the car for other features.
In addition, a speaker-less system uses only a fraction of the power requirement of today’s speaker-centric systems.
For a more detailed look at how Ac2ated Sound works, click on this link to view the video.