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Debut of a revolutionary sound experience


The sounds of classical music have been delighting the ears of listeners for centuries. For this very reason, the art of the classical string instrument construction, acts as a role model for many sound and acoustic experts, even today.

Inspired by this, sound engineers in the NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) Center of Expertise of Continental Engineering Services (CES) have developed a speakerless sound system that magically transports the concert sounds in 3D surround-sound quality into the car interior.

“With our system, speakers with a vibrating diaphragm are simply not required if all the necessary surfaces are already present in the vehicle,” explains Dimitrios Patsouras, head of the NVH Center of Expertise at Continental Engineering Services.

Ac2ated Sound by Continental and Continental Engineering Services

Actuators instead of tweeters, midrange speakers and subwoofers.

Conventional loudspeakers are replaced by compact actuators. These transducers consist of a magnet and a coil. In combination with software, they generate electric signals and convert these in order to vibrate surfaces which are already present in the vehicle interior. As such, the vehicle itself acts as an instrument body. Specific areas in the vehicle lend themselves to each of the required three main frequency ranges. The A-pillar is suited for high frequencies, while the door panels, for instance, have the right properties for generating midrange frequencies. As is the case with loudspeakers, large components such as the roof lining or rear shelf are used to generate low frequencies.

“If, by way of comparison, you imagine a violin, for example, then the transducer corresponds to the bow and strings. The bridge of the violin corresponds to the layer and the bonding of the transducer to the surface, which, in turn, forms the sound body,” explains Patsouras

What will manufacturers gain from this?

Compared with current audio systems, the Ac2ated sound system from Continental requires up to 90% less weight and installation space, and also requires less electricity. Depending on the version, the system can weigh as little as one kilogram and requires as little as one liter of total box volume.

This can only be of benefit to most automobile manufacturers. “In the era of electric mobility, automobile manufacturers want to reduce the weight of their vehicles and create more space for occupants and new technologies,” explains Johann Hiebl, head of the Infotainment & Connectivity business unit at Continental.

Of decisive importance for market success here is the outstanding sound quality as certified by experts such as the renowned master violin-maker Martin Schleske, who also holds a degree in physics.

In addition, designers receive new design options for the car interior, as the typical speaker faces of high-end audio systems, consisting of tweeters, midrange speakers and subwoofers, can be omitted.

The invisible, speakerless audio technology can be integrated into premium class vehicles as well as small electric vehicles. The technology is also suitable for expanding functional audio applications. For example, audible alerts can be generated in the very place where they will find a ready ear.

Continental and Continental Engineering Services is presenting the fascinating sound experience of the Ac2ated sound systems for the first time live to the public at the IAA in September 2017.


General information about CES & NVH

  • Founded in 2006 as a subsidiary of Continental AG, Continental Engineering Services GmbH (CES) has become a leading, international development and manufacturing partner for automotive and industry customers. CES develops and produces new solutions for technological challenges in the fields of expertise of brake and advanced driver assistance systems, motor vehicle engineering, vehicle electronics/interior electronic systems electrical drive systems, and control systems for conventional drives. Our engineers develop from the "blank sheet of paper" or adapt tested Continental´s series production technology, and makes mobility user-friendly, drive-efficient, safe and comfortable.

General NVH development services:

  • With its own NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) Center of Expertise, CES develops and integrates solutions for entire vehicle acoustics and thermal management in vehicles.

  • The NVH specialists identify causes of acoustic problems, develop suitable recommended solutions for this, and produce prototype components for on-going series production technologies.

  • Continental Engineering Services acts as consultant to leading manufacturers regarding the use of new materials and innovative technologies. 

  • Consultancy regarding market potential of new products, materials, and technologies

  • Consultancy regarding the acoustic optimization of aggregates, components, and vehicles of all categories

  • Consultancy and monitoring during the development of new products in the field of acoustics and thermal management

  • Development of practical specifications for the acoustic performance of products

Special NVH development services for people interested in Ac2ated sound technology:

  • Construction of demonstrators with Ac2ated sound technology based on customer models and alignment of the sound with customer requirements (basic system, premium system, high-end system). Optional function for switching over to the existing conventional speaker system

  • Identification of suitable emitter surfaces in the vehicle and combining these to create as perfect a sound pattern as possible, one that covers the entire audio frequency range (20 Hz – 20 kHz) and meets the customer's expectations

  • Tuning of the Ac2ated sound systems: By means of a DSP (digital signal processor), the frequency ranges and operating times (delay of rear sound transducers) are set and adjusted in such a way that an optimum stage performance and spatial presentation of the musical material becomes possible.

  • Development of optimized sound transducers for the customer project and the corresponding surfaces for sound conversion

  • Development of optimally adapted amplifier elements for Ac2ated sound systems

  • Production of prototypes and small series production of optimized sound transducers and amplifiers by Continental Engineering Services

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