(Last Updated On: January 28, 2020)

Instead, select surfaces of a car’s interior to become the speaker.

Like a violin that uses the wooden body as a surface to resonate sound, Continental-Sennheiser's Ac2uated Sound technology uses select surfaces of a car's interior to produce sound. (From Continental/Sennheiser)
Like a violin that uses the wooden body as a surface to resonate sound, Continental-Sennheiser’s Ac2uated Sound technology uses select surfaces of a car’s interior to produce sound. (From Continental/Sennheiser)

Continental and Sennheiser have merged to bring in a technology that took center stage for automotive audio demonstrations at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020.

Called the Ac2uated Sound, the solution is designed by Sennheiser for Continental. It takes inspiration from the audio manufacturer’s patented AMBEO 3D audio processing technology, enhancing reproduction inside the vehicle with an immersive 3D effect.

Combined with Sennheiser’s AMBEO Mobility Audio, the concept is said to achieve “breathtaking 3D sound reproduction” that allows passengers to enjoy audio entertainment to the fullest.

Inspired by the Violin

The Ac2uated Sound technology is patterned after the technology of classical string instruments which use their wooden body as a resonance chamber.

Comparing the action of the new Ac2uated Sound system actuator with the sound vibrations generated by a violin, the concept abandons conventional speaker technology altogether, exciting select surfaces in the vehicle interior to produce sound.

A visual explainer of how Ac2uated Sound capitalized on the technology of classical instruments. (From Continental/Sennheisser)
A visual explainer of how Ac2uated Sound capitalized on the technology of classical instruments. (From Continental/Sennheisser)

Better Audio Doesn’t Always Mean More Weight

Traditional systems that amplify the audio experience in cars put a car’s weight in a compromise.

The Ac2uated Sound technology, at 40 kilograms, claims to bring much lower weight and significantly reduced box volume.

More Space for More Valuable Use

Actuators cause components such as the A-pillar trim, door trim, roof lining and rear shelf to vibrate so that they emit sound in different frequency ranges.

As such, there are fewer speakers installed, giving vehicle designers and manufacturers the freedom to do more with an automobile’s interior.

Ac2ated Sound reduces speakers-occupied space by up to 76% to 90%, making it suited for electric vehicles, where saving space and weight is a primary consideration.

A Pitch-Perfect Tie-up

Dr. Andreas Sennheiser, co-CEO of Sennheiser, expressed delight in bringing the firm’s audio expertise and AMBEO Mobility software into the pioneering Ac2ated Sound system from Continental.

Sennheiser co-CEO Daniel Sennheiser said.

“Our AMBEO immersive audio solutions deliver the ultimate quality in sound capture, processing and playback. Crucially, the ability to enjoy breathtaking immersive sound does not require specific 3D audio sources – AMBEO Mobility’s spatialization algorithm can turn any stereo material into an immersive experience. By intelligently analyzing the content, the patented algorithm artistically remixes the sound to provide an emotional experience, transporting the listener into the music.”

Helmut Matschi, member of the Executive Board and Head of the business area Vehicle Networking and Information at Continental, also expressed delight in having partnered with the audio specialist.

Matschi added:

“Together, we have developed an audio system that creates premium sound out of nowhere. Additionally, Ac2ated Sound reduces space and weight. At Continental, we call this sustainability that’s music to your ears.”

Founded in 1871, Continental develops technologies and services for mobility, vehicles, machines, traffic and transportation. The company currently employs more than 240,000 people in 60 countries and markets.

Meanwhile, Sennheiser was founded in 1945. It specializes in the production and development of headphones, microphones and all-round audio solutions. Headquartered in Wedemark, Germany, Sennheiser has over 2,800 employees all over the world.