BlackBerry QNX, a subsidiary of Canadian tech giant BlackBerry, is teaming with Swedish audio company Dirac in an effort to lower the cost and simplify audio upgrades for automakers.
The two announced the deal at CES today. Financial terms were not disclosed.
BlackBerry QNX will integrate Dirac’s Opteo Professional solution into the QNX Acoustics Management Platform.
BlackBerry QNX claims the platform can provide an estimated 17.4-per-cent cost savings and an estimated six-per-cent mass savings per automotive audio system.
The two companies say they have already started work on “the first implementation in a high-end electric vehicle for a leading European manufacturer.”
They declined to name the automaker.
Lars Carlsson, Dirac’s vice-president and head of business development automotive audio says the idea behind the partnership is to support the growing trend of software-defined vehicles that can offer subscription-based upgrades capable of receiving over-the-air software updates.
“This presents automakers with an opportunity to capitalize on consumer demand for high-quality audio, while providing them with software-defined vehicles that offer added capabilities through subscriptions and other upgrades,” Carlsson said in a joint statement.
The new system will eliminate the need for automakers to install audio software in either the infotainment unit or in a separate digital signal processor, both of which the companies say can be a time consuming, expensive, and complex process.
Brad Hamme, principal solution architect, acoustics, at BlackBerry QNX, praised Dirac’s sound quality, citing that as one of the reasons to partner up.
“Our goal is to make premium audio available to more drivers in more vehicles, and we are excited for the ongoing expansion of this partnership to address all classes of automobiles,” Hamme said in the same statement.
According to the two companies, the vehicle cabin is regarded as one of the most challenging acoustic environments because possible speaker positions are more limited than in permanent entertainment spaces. As a result, vehicle speakers often interfere with each other to cause distortion and reduce audio clarity, and systems with more speakers create greater interference.
A cabin’s shape and materials can also lead to unwanted sound coloration, resulting in muddy, booming sound that makes it difficult to discern where sound is coming from.
Dirac says its Dirac Opteo Professional addresses these challenges by enabling all the speakers in a car to work intelligently together and co-correct each other’s impulse response.
Dirac’s automotive audio solutions are currently used by leading automotive brands such as Rolls Royce, Volvo, Polestar, BMW, NIO, and BYD, among others.