Dolby has partnered with Swedish audio company Dirac to bring Dolby Atmos to more cars. The popular spatial audio experience was rolled out to select Mercedes Benz models and super-luxury Maybach sedans last year, and is also available on the Lucid Air EV. With the availability of the technology in more cars, users will be able to enjoy 3D audio in their vehicles without having to splurge on a Merc or a Lucid Air.
Available on a plethora of platforms, spatial audio is a software feature that mimics true surround sound and adds multi-directional 3D sound effects to the audio output on any supported device. Not only is it available on compatible computers and smartphones, but also on a plethora of audio wearables, including Apple’s AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and AirPods 3.
In a press release on Thursday, Dirac announced that it is partnering with Dolby to demo how its patented audio optimization algorithms and Dolby Atmos immersive audio could combine to offer “the ultimate in-vehicle audio experience.” The new experience will be demoed by both companies across all their demo vehicles around the world. According to both the companies, reproducing the perfect sound in a vehicle cabin is a challenging task, but the combined algorithms of Dirac and Dolby have been uniquely successful in optimizing the audio experience of users.
You Won’t Need A Mercedes For In-Car Dolby Atmos
The first car to ship with the new technology from Dolby and Dirac will be the Nio ET 7 electric sedan from Chinese automaker Nio. The vehicle is slated to launch in Europe later this year, but the company is yet to announce its plans for the American market, meaning it might not be available in the U.S. any time soon. While Dirac’s press release didn’t reveal the names of any other vehicles that will offer the new technology, there will likely be more tie-ups with other automakers in the coming months.
Spatial audio isn’t that common in car audio systems, but it has become an integral part of most home theater setups over the years. Both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are important components of the movie-watching experience, not only at theaters, but also at home. Dolby is now hoping to bring the same experience to music enthusiasts when they drive their cars, so it will be interesting to see how the enhanced audio experience would work inside a moving vehicle with constant wind and engine noise. Still, the collaboration could help bring Dolby Atmos to mainstream cars and ensure that the spatial audio experience is not restricted to luxury cars and pricey packages.