Renault Group and Newfund have announced their investment in the French startup Akoustic Arts, specialised in directional sound, in order to accelerate its growth and enable it to pursue the wide scale development of its products.
This investment goes with an agreement between Renault and the young company to carry out a shared development project focused on adapting the Akoustic Arts technology for vehicles.
Akoustic Arts, created in 2010, has developed a unique, patented ultra-directional sound technology. The content is projected through the air, creating a private bubble of sound that only the target user hears. In this way, the technology can provide several distinct immersive experiences for different people at the same time.
As part of this collaboration, Renault engineers will share their automotive expertise as well as their suppliers and industrial tools, while Akoustic Arts experts will provide their technology and knowledge of directional sound. After an initial R&D phase, the project will focus on the development of on-board directional speakers for the brand models. Products aimed at the aftermarket will also be considered.
"We are delighted to be investing in the young company Akoustic Arts alongside Newfund. Together, we will create innovative on-board directional speakers in order to better meet the expectations of our customers. For Renault, the on-board audio experience is a differentiating factor, especially with the development of connected and autonomous vehicles and future on-board editorial content," said Gaspar Gascon Abellan, deputy alliance engineering EVP.
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"After this initial phase devoted to the development of our ultra-directional sound technology, Groupe Renault and Newfund's equity participation in Akoustic Arts will be a powerful driver of acceleration. The synergy between these two players will allow us to reach our shared objectives. The first is to revolutionize the in-store experience with our A speaker; the second is to develop a product for the automotive market by drawing on the expertise of Renault's teams," said Ilan Kaddouch, CEO of Akoustic Arts.
"Akoustic Arts has developed a unique technology that already perfectly meets the need for sound technology in public spaces – notably in the retail industry – through its first product, the A speaker. This capital injection will enable the team to continue to win over new customers on this priority market, and to rapidly develop a product adapted to vehicles, with the help of Renault. We are thrilled to participate in this project," said Ivan Michal, partner at Newfund.