The advantages of MEMS speakers in personalized automotive audio
Vehicles are increasing their autonomy, requiring the integration of multiple applications that guide and assist drivers and entertain passengers. Here is how USound’s MEMS technology enables car manufacturers to create advanced audio systems that follow the latest trends in the automotive industry.
The trend of personalized automotive audio
The trend of personalized automotive audio experience refers to the increasing demand for high-quality and customizable car audio systems. This trend is being driven by several factors, including the growing popularity of integrated GPS and driver monitoring systems, audio assistants, and streaming services. Due to these developments, the desire for immersive and personalized listening experience while on the road has significantly increased over the years.
To meet this demand, automakers now offer advanced audio systems that allow drivers and passengers to customize the sound to their individual preferences. For example, many cars are now equipped with digital sound processors (DSPs), that can adjust the sound based on factors like the vehicle’s speed, cabin size, and ambient noise levels.
Another important aspect of personalized car audio is the integration of voice assistants. These voice assistants allow drivers to obtain hands-free control of their music and audio settings, which reduces distractions while driving and increases safety on the road.
For voice assistants to work properly, audio systems developers and automakers need to define the optimal architecture of the car sound systems. One obvious way is the integration of audio systems in close proximity to the users’ ears. For example, it they could be placed into the headrest or car roof. These placements allows achieving the shortest distance to the user’s ear.
The trend of personalized car audio is likely to continue as consumers demand more custom-made and immersive audio systems and the related technology continues to advance to make these demands feasible and affordable.
Audio sphere | Audio zone
To better understand the concept of personalized audio, it is important to explain what an audio sphere or audio zone is. An Audio Sphere is an electrical and geometrical optimized Sound system that focuses the sound output locally only around one passenger and same time minimize the sound radiation to the other passengers.
Having a fully private and controllable audio system for the car passengers is the most ambitious goal for a car manufacturer. Many manufacturers have already witnessed the demand for personal audio zones and are now driving their developments towards integrating speakers into the headrest.
To better understand this concept, take a look at this scenario: A family is driving with their car to their desired holiday location, while listening to some music on the radio. Suddenly the driver receives a call, which he picks up by using the headrest loudspeakers. He can answer and exit the call, adjust the sound volume and turn the radio back on without affecting the rest of the family. It may sound futuristic, but it is already becoming a reality.
MEMS speaker solutions for personalized automotive audio systems
For this vision to become a reality, automakers need to overcome a few challenges. These include the need for:
- lightweight speakers
- systems with optimal power efficiency
- affordable systems
Here is how USound’s MEMS-based audio technology comes into play. The first advantage of our MEMS speakers, when compared to conventional speakers, is their small and lightweight form because of the absence of heavy magnets and coils. Furthermore, USound’s MEMS speakers can be combined with the newest Tarvos amplifier to further decrease the overall power consumption.
Moreover, due to the scaling nature in MEMS manufacturing, MEMS speakers can be produced in larger numbers at a very low cost. Lastly, MEMS speakers do not heat up during operations, meaning that the headrest will keep its initial temperature, without overheating and potentially creating discomfort to the driver.
To sum things up, the advantages of USound’s MEMS technology in automotive audio systems are:
- small and light-weight speaker form
- low power consumption
- high scalability
- No overheating
MEMS-driven headrest solutions
Let’s see how a headrest solution like this could look like. In the picture below you can see that, for an optimal stereo sound experience, two MEMS speaker arrays (one at each ear side) will be integrated inside the headrest. Thanks to the line arrangement of the speakers, there is a beamforming effect towards the passenger’s ear. In this setup, the distance to the ear is around 20cm. That means that a major part of the sound energy will be transmitted only to the passenger and the sound emitting to other persons in the car is minimized.
It’s a matter of time until the personal audio spheres will be part of any standard car audio solution. USound MEMS speakers will play a vital role in making this happen, due to its revolutionary audio solutions and the inherent advantages of MEMS speakers.
Furthermore, this trend will be accelerated with the emerge of Level 4 autonomous vehicles, which operate fully automatically “driver” does not be able to take control over the car at any time.
If you are interested in obtaining USound’s solutions for automotive audio systems, you can contact our sales department.
About the Author
USound’s broad-knowledge expert on industrialization, development, and application support, Markus drives USound’s innovations, with a background in Electrical engineering and over 10 years’ experience in the Audio industry. He has been with USound since 2014.