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January 14, 2016

Car audio

The 5 most important trends for in-car audio in 2016

This year, like any other, will bring about innovations, inventions, and new trends. However, what are we, here at Dynaudio, excited about for the future? Here, you can read about some of the megatrends our Product Manager for Automotive, René Rønning expects to become relevant within the next couple of years.

A silver grey Volkswagen Passat B8 with Dynaudio sound system in front of Dynaudio's offices in Denmark

"Within the next couple of years, driving will become a multimedia experience as people are freed from actually driving" - René Rønning

Let us get right to it and take a look at five trends that could be more than sheer novelty within the audio-automotive industry: autonomous cars, electrical and hybrid cars, creative placement of speakers, behavior predictions, and 3D printing.

Behavior predictions
Today, your mobile is with you everywhere, and it is probably paired with your car’s infotainment system, but we will probably see an, even more, immersive experience in the future: your car could recognize you through your mobile device or even through biometrics. Once you’ve been identified, the car could automatically start changing its settings to match your preferences: seat height, distance from the steering wheel, temperature, but why stop there? What if it knew your favorite driving playlist, volume level, and how you like your EQ?

"The car would automatically know – based on your previous behavior – that you like to listen to slow jazz on your way home from a busy day at the office, that you like to listen to relaxing morning radio when your driving to work, or which particular sound profile you enjoy.

"When we look a bit further ahead and consider this integrated with sound zones, your mobile device might even tell other peoples’ car what your preferences are and automatically play the kind of music you enjoy in your zone, making it something we need to be aware of." - René Rønning

Sound character profile in the VW Tourage

Autonomous cars
One of the biggest and most covered innovations has to be the autonomous car. Frost & Sullivan has predicted this trend will see more than 6 million autonomous cars on the roads in Europe and North America by 2025. This means the driver suddenly has an entirely new role in the car (will we even call one of the passengers for driver anymore?).

"Taking a nap when you are driving to work is now possible. However, this also means we’ll see the car as more of a multimedia space. When you are driving four hours to see relatives, you might as well listen to your favorite music or watch a movie with the kids,

"We need to be aware of these trends, so we can adapt to, and meet, those demands in the future" - René Rønning

One thing is sure, with autonomous cars just around the corner, we’ll see people use cars in new ways: exploiting they do not have to focus on the road anymore.

Learn more: Dynaudio Hi-Fi in your car

Electrical and hybrid vehicles
While autonomous cars are still some years in the future, one trend on the up-and-coming is electric and/or hybrid cars, where we have already seen a surge in electric cars such as the VW Golf GTE and e-Golf.

With this type of car, we have to think in new directions, as requirements to weight and power consumption increase: the more electricity our speakers consume, less ‘fuel’ you have for driving.

"But it is not ‘just’ about power consumption, the batteries in these types of car are exactly where we want to put our speakers, so we will also have to fight for our spot or find a new one" - René Rønning

Creative placement of speakers
However, we do not have to find new places to put speakers just because of electrical cars. No, as car manufacturers and car owners increasingly prioritize sound systems, we will see more creative solutions (size of driver, placement, materials) adding to passengers’ in-car experience: one place could be above our heads:

"Placing speakers in the roof is not just creative, for creativeness sake, but it also opens up for 3D sound, which offers an improved sound stage and security features such as noise canceling that only lets the sound of an ambulance come through" - René Rønning

Car audio esotec and esotar

3D printing
For a couple of years, 3D printing has been a hot topic, and Dynaudio is already using the technology for testing. However, this will be emphasized even more over the next couple of years, as it reduces the time-to-market factor:

"We want the time between our customers and ourselves as short as possible and 3D printing is an important means to that end. We have our own test car, and we can just print up a new design, put it in, and see if it works. This can significantly speed up our development processes and help us find the best solutions in a shorter timeframe.

Learn more: Dynaudio in-car audio technology

 

Dynaudio VW Passat

"We might even see a future where speakers could become completely changeable, and you visit your local Volkswagen dealer, buy the latest Dynaudio speakers, and have the mechanic plug them in: that might not be a realistic scenario, but it is a fun thought to play around with" - René Rønning

Learn more: Dynaudio's passion for in-car audio