Dirac joins with BlackBerry QNX to improve in-car audio experience

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Digital audio company Dirac has partnered with BlackBerry QNX to integrate its Opteo Professional solution into the QNX Acoustics Management Platform, making it easier for automotive manufacturers to digitally upgrade the performance of sound systems in high-end vehicles.

The two companies have already begun work on the first implementation in a high-end electric vehicle for a European manufacturer.

According to Lars Carlsson, Dirac’s Vice President and Head of Business Development Automotive Audio, the partnership will enable automotive manufacturers to optimise the sound experience across entire vehicle line-ups while also supporting the growing trend of software-defined vehicles that can offer subscription-based upgrades capable of receiving over-the-air software updates.

"High-quality audio can be challenging for automakers to perfect across entire line-ups, but, with the new Dirac-enabled QNX audio framework, manufacturers can upgrade any vehicle’s sound system with enhanced performance,” Carlsson said. "This presents automakers with an opportunity to capitalise on consumer demand for high-quality audio, while providing them with software-defined vehicles that offer added capabilities through subscriptions and other upgrades.”

Dirac Opteo Professional will be accessible on all QNX supported chipsets through the QNX audio framework, removing the need for automakers to install audio software in either the head unit SoC or in a separate digital signal processor (DSP) - which can be a time consuming, expensive, and complex process.

Beginning with Dirac Opteo Professional, the partnership will expand to include Dirac Opteo Premium and Dirac Opteo Performance solutions, for mid- and entry-level vehicle sound systems respectively, and the Dirac Virtuo solution, which leverages a sophisticated audio algorithm to envelop drivers and passengers in high-quality immersive sound.

Dirac audio solutions will be standard features available to manufacturers. They can also be offered as potential upgrades to consumers at either the time of purchase or at a later date, through an over-the-air (OTA) update-based purchase.

“Collaborating with Dirac equips our industry-leading QNX Acoustics Management Platform with improved audio performance that ensures faithful reproduction of any content – while also offering manufacturers an entirely new revenue opportunity,” said Brad Hamme, Principal Solution Architect, Acoustics, at BlackBerry QNX. “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.”

Achieving peak sound performance in cars is challenging and the car cabin is regarded as one of the most difficult 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 car cabin’s shape and materials can also lead to unwanted sound coloration.

Featuring patented multiple-input/multiple-output (MIMO) mixed phase impulse response correction technology, 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.

The Dirac solution “erases” the car cabin – removing the unwanted effects of the cabin in ways previously regarded as possible only in theory. It also creates loudspeaker responses for maximum fidelity and achieves much improved bass performance.

Dirac’s automotive audio solutions are currently used by leading automotive brands Rolls Royce, Volvo, Polestar, BMW, NIO, and BYD, among others.