Here’s why speakers may be the next thing to disappear from your car.

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  • July 09, 2018


Ever since the first car radios appeared in vehicles in the late 1920s and 1930s, audio entertainment has been evolving.

  • 1952: First car radio with FM.
  • 1963: First all-transistor car radio.
  • 1965: The first 8-track players appear as options in 1966 Ford models.
  • 1969: First car audio unit that offered stereo sound.
  • 1970s: In-car cassette players begin to appear.
  • 1985: Mercedes-Benz begins offering in-car CD players.
  • 2002: Satellite radio starts showing up in cars.
  • 2010: Last car produced with a factory cassette player, the Lexus LC 430.
  • 2015: CD players start disappearing from cars.

What will be the next audio thing to disappear from our cars? Speakers. The New York Times reports:

Advances in technology and changes in consumer tastes have caused antennas, eight-tracks, cassette decks and CD players to disappear from their once-familiar places in our cars and trucks.

The next thing to go might be the speakers.

But thumping bass, rich midrange and soaring highs will still be there. They’ll just be coming from the car itself.

Continental, a German auto-components supplier, has developed technology that makes parts of the car’s interior vibrate to create high-fidelity audio on a par with any premium sound system on the road now.

The approach turns the rear window into a subwoofer. The windshield, floor, dashboard and seat frames produce the midrange. And the A-pillars — the posts between the windshield and the doors — become your tweeters, said Dominik Haefele, the leader of the team that developed the technology.

The result is something like an enhanced version of surround sound. “It’s a 3-D immersive sound, and you’re experiencing the music in a very different way,” Mr. Haefele said. “You’re in the sound. You feel it all around you, like you’re adding another dimension to it.”