You may not need to buy a Lucid Air or Mercedes to listen to spatial audio in your car. Dolby and Swedish company Dirac are teaming up to demonstrate more immersive in-car audio technology. The partnership combines Dirac’s optimization algorithms with Dolby Atmos support to deliver 3D sound and improve audio quality across the board. The combo can compensate for poor in-cabin acoustics (like reflective surfaces and awkward speaker placement), while promising advanced sound staging normally reserved only for home theaters.
The two companies demonstrate their teamwork in demo cars, but you may have to wait a while to hear it in a vehicle you can drive. The first car to benefit from Dolby and Dirac technology is the Nio ET7. The electric sedan isn’t coming to Europe until later this year, and the Chinese brand has yet to commit to a North American expansion.
Still, the efforts may contribute somewhat to democratizing Atmos and high-quality car audio. You may not need to buy a luxury car (or an expensive option package) to listen to spatial sound or otherwise enjoy the quality you normally get at home. Audio performance can be a particularly strong selling point as self-driving cars come to the fore. If your car becomes a lounge on wheels, you probably want the speaker system to match.