SpatialSound Wave for Automotive Audio

The audio platform for the car of the future

New car concepts in the automotive industry focus on the experience of the interior. This development is being driven by current megatrends, such as autonomous driving. While the car takes control of what happens on the road, there is more time for work, entertainment or relaxation. At the same time, the driver must be able to take over the driving task again at any time in critical situations. This increases the demands on comfort and safety, and the interaction between car and driver is becoming more and more important. Whereas visual communication has been the focus of developments to date, the use of acoustic interaction offers new possibilities for designing a comfortable, safe and intuitive driving experience.  

With SpatialSound Wave, Fraunhofer IDMT offers a 3D audio technology that includes solutions for entertainment, driving experience, driving safety, communication, and human-machine interaction. As central audio platform in the car, SpatialSound Wave also enables holistic sound management in the car and thus offers a uniform platform for controlling all systems and components with audio functions installed in the car – completely without pre-production. 

Immersive Audio for an Intense Listening Experience

SpatialSound Wave creates a room-filling sound experience with impressive clarity and intensity at every seat. Individual audio objects, such as a voice or a sound, can be perceived precisely in their position and distance in the room, giving the listener a sense of spaciousness and depth. An innovative room simulation ensures an authentic sound experience by impressively simulating the sound characteristics of different rooms. The physical limitation of the car gives way to a unique sense of space, acoustically transporting the people in the car directly to the stage of a grand opera house or to the cozy atmosphere of a small jazz club.

3D sound for all formats and content

SpatialSound Wave enables both the upmix of any 2D audio content to 3D sound and the playback of any audio format in impressive 3D audio quality. Virtual speakers placed around the outside of the car ensure that channel-based audio content is played back in 3D. In addition, virtual speakers offer new possibilities for interactively adapting the sound image to one's own preferences: By changing the stereo panorama, a wide yet deep soundstage can be created, giving instruments significantly more three-dimensionality - for lively sound with a live character.

Assisted Audio for more driving safety

SpatialSound Wave enables 360-degree perception of the car environment. Sources of risk, such as an approaching tram or a car in the blind spot, are reproduced spatially unambiguously in real time as dynamic audio objects, thus providing the driver with precise directional information - without having to move his or her head. If the car is approaching from the right, for example, an acoustic warning tone also sounds on the right side in the car, reflecting the spatial position of the passing car. Navigation instructions, such as turning in a specific direction, can also be placed in the car as an acoustic event. The driver then receives an audio cue that is played back from the direction in which the driver needs to turn. Audio objects can also be easily linked to the visual display of information in the cockpit.

Social Audio for comfortable communication

SpatialSound Wave brings a new quality of communication to in-car telephony. When there are several participants in a telephone conference, it is often difficult to distinguish between the spoken contributions, as the playback has so far been from just one loudspeaker. With SpatialSound Wave, each participant is placed spatially in the car as an audio object, so that all participants in the conversation can be heard clearly and understandably. The listening effort is significantly reduced and frees up cognitive resources of the driver for concentrating on the essential driving functions. SpatialSound Wave thus offers comfortable and reliable communication in the vehicle, creating an important prerequisite for mobile working in the rolling office of the future.

Smart Interior Audio for Intuitive Human-Machine Interaction

SpatialSound Wave supports the intuitive use of new, functional surfaces that are increasingly conquering car interiors: switchless surfaces with controls that are integrated into the cockpit or door, appear as if from nowhere only when touched and then disappear again. When a button is successfully pressed, a haptic impulse is generated. With SpatialSound Wave, any type of acoustic feedback can be triggered in addition to the haptic feedback. The combination of both sensory modalities increases unambiguous and comprehensible perception and thus ensures the most intuitive operation possible.

Comfort Audio for an Emotional Driving Experience

SpatialSound Wave individualizes and emotionalizes the driving experience by making it easy to assign any sound event to various functions in the car: When opening the car door, travelers are greeted directly with a personal greeting or their new favorite music. When the gas pedal is pressed, intense driving dynamics are felt as energetic engine sound spreads dynamically in space from the cockpit to the rear. And when the autonomous driving mode is switched on, atmospheric soundscapes automatically unfold. Whether it's the gentle crashing of ocean waves on the beach or the delicate rustling of leaves in the wind, an almost meditative carpet of sound spreads throughout the interior, enveloping passengers and creating a dense atmosphere. 

In addition, the entire interior acoustics in the car can be adapted to individual preferences. Whether it's a wide opera house sound or an intimate studio atmosphere, SpatialSound Wave can also reproduce functional sounds such as warning or information tones in the desired acoustics.

This might also be of interest


Making virtual products audible in space

Simulate acoustic properties of virtual prototypes in real time, make them audible and influence them in a targeted manner.

Research topic Acoustic Simulation for AI Validation and Training

Training and validation of AI systems with simulated data and scenarios