Car News

Continental Unveils Speakerless Car Audio System

One of the most significant drawbacks of car audio systems is that speakers have to go wherever they'll fit, but German auto industry supplier Continental has come up with car stereo tech that gets around that problem by using the car's existing interior surfaces as speakers.

Continental unveiled its latest development in in-car entertainment at Tech Show 2017, the company's annual showcase for the products and technologies it hopes to sell to auto manufacturers.

Australian mag CarAdvice talked to Continental's Dimitrios Patsouras, who said the company's research revealed that different bits of a car's interior lent themselves to reproducing specific sound frequencies: A-pillars are good for high frequencies, door panels are suited to mid-range sounds and the roof and rear parcel shelf are ideal spots for low-end audio. And that suggests that the folks who design car interiors have been on the right track for some time, if you think about where you often find speakers in contemporary vehicles.

While Car Advice reports that Continental's new tech sounds superb, the company suggests its motivations were more pragmatic. It says a traditional premium audio system, which might have as many as 20 speakers throughout the car's interior, can add 15 kg to a car's curb weight and occupy as much as 30 litres of volume. In contrast, this new speakerless tech can weigh as little as one kg and take up just one litre of space, which Continental says are important considerations as vehicles take on more safety equipment while being expected to return ever-improving fuel economy.

Continental's speakerless audio system is ready to go into production, and will get its official reveal this fall at the Frankfurt auto show.