MALVERN, England - DaimlerChrysler will equip Mercedes-Benz models with a revolutionary new range of flat loudspeakers.
D/C will license flat loudspeaker technology - called SurfaceSound - from UK audio company NXT.
Flat loudspeakers save space and weight and cost no more than traditional cone-shaped speakers, says NXT.
Most car audio systems use four speakers. Top-of-the-range systems can use eight or 10 speakers. Because of the size of conventional speakers, locations have to be chosen carefully and incorporated into the basic design of a car's interior.
A conventional in-car speaker with a 125mm-diameter cone weighs about 1kg. It is at least 75mm thick and has about 60 components.
But NXT's flat loudspeaker is about 3mm thick, weighs 50 grams and contains eight components. It can be incorporated into almost any flat or curved surface - for example, sun visor, parcel shelf, headliner or door panel.
With DaimlerChrysler, 'NXT could not have found a more prestigious and technically innovative partner to introduce the inherent advantages of our speaker technology to the automotive market,' says David Pearson, NXT chief executive.
'We will work with Daimler-Chrysler to develop NXT solutions for the Mercedes-Benz range.'
More than 200 firms worldwide have taken out licenses to develop products based on NXT's Surface-Sound technology.
The first Mercedes to be equipped with flat loudspeakers should go on sale in 2004.