The rapid technological development in digital audio as well as the growing importance of electronics, software and connectivity in vehicles leads to the questions: How do we use Audio in vehicles 10 years from now? Which trends will gain recognition? What challenges do automotive manufacturers and suppliers face in order to inspire the customers with outstanding sound and services in the future?

On the occasion of the 140. International AES Convention Wolfram Jähn (AUDI AG), Martin Kreißig (Daimler AG), Ulrich Fox (Bose Automotive), Timo Esser (Alpine Electronics) as well as Armin Prommersberger (HARMAN International) discussed challenges, trends and developments in the field of Automotive Audio and debated possible impacts on the whole industry. Dr. Alfred Svobodnik, Vice-Chairman of AES Technical Committee Automotive Audio, moderated the panel discussion. In the following you will find the summary:

Profound changes in the automotive industry and its importance for Automotive Audio
Changes in mobility became obvious. The transformation process in the automotive industry is in full swing. The digitization of the vehicle, particularly the automation of driving functions up to autonomous driving, the change of power systems, the transformation from product to service through new business models and mobility concepts stand out. They are considered highly relevant for competition.

In the past the automotive industry was more influenced by hardware – a cool car body with rich horsepower under the hood – in the meantime software solutions are becoming more and more important. Heading: autonomous driving and connectivity, “always on” generation. New companies, especially in the IT and data environment also gain influence over final consumers on the market, product and processes. This requires a rethinking of the entire industry.

Resume and appeal
The market environment is characterized by high and complex dynamics of change. The high and rising relevance of new technologies and their proper integration require utmost efforts of all market participants.

Dr. Alfred Svobodník recommends to create common standards and appeals for a joint research consortium for Automotive Audio in order to integrate also in future outstanding sound in cars of tomorrow in all different model variations, supported by new solutions for networked and automated vehicles. The aim of such a research project should be to enable all involved industries to contribute an overall system on a reliable and legally secure basis. The AES as a global, professional association of audio technology could serve as a neutral platform of such a research consortium.