Company history of Audio Mobil
The story of our milestones.
On 3 March 1989, Thomas Stottan founded AUDIO MOBIL in Salzburg. In addition to high-end audio systems, the contractual partners were Österr. Post C network telephones including fax machines already installed under automotive requirements – thus a forerunner of the networked vehicle.
D-network telephone integrations with the then emerging notebooks were implemented on behalf of the customer. This was the first time that a connected car application was possible in real mode. This resulted in customer contacts to the OEM development offices.
More than four years after its foundation, AUDIO MOBIL was listed by BMW AG as an OEM supplier for the first time. The entire development responsibility for the electronic concept for a total of 18 series was taken on for the BMW sound module.
Technology carriers were set up for the R&D OEM departments. The findings from the projects “Transmission paths for cars” and “Dialogue-capable haptic control element” still today form the basis for integrated radio systems and operating concepts “for attacking”.
Due to increasing requirements for confidentiality, the company had to move from Salzburg to a more discreet location in Ranshofen. In addition to its proximity to a training centre for engineers in computer science, communications engineering and mechatronics, it is also advantageous to be centrally located within Europe.
The scope of activities as an R&D service provider was extended to include small series production. Short development cycles and highly flexible production processes are becoming the benchmark in the automotive industry.
In addition to a newly designed facility with optimised routes between laboratories, testing facilities and production areas, a hermetically shielded test track has been built to meet the OEMs’ confidentiality requirements. ISO TS 16949 was also introduced.
The CEO, Stottan, initiated the expansion of scientific research on HMI (human-machine interaction) by collaborating with the University of Salzburg. A renowned funding partner was found in the form of the Christian Doppler Research Association (“Christian-Doppler-Forschungsgesellschaft”).
The findings from vehicle networking had already been bundled into the xFCD (extended floating car data) AMV project in 2007. This resulted in a rapidly expanding business with the management of real-time data, which led to the spin-off of AMV Networks GmbH.
Different and ahead of their time. AUDIO MOBIL was awarded the lateral thinker award for being a pioneer. “People who work with AUDIO MOBIL know that we can make ideas a reality quicker than anywhere else,” says CEO Thomas Stottan.
In cooperation with the University of Salzburg and the steering wheel manufacturer Takata (now Joyson Safety Systems), a completely new HMI operating system is being developed that bundles all the relevant information from the dashboard and centre console into the steering wheel. It is completely intuitive and easy to use without any previous experience, representing a milestone in the simplification of vehicle operation.
Another innovation from AUDIO MOBIL. A personal audio system involves individual audio zones being set up within a vehicle. Each passenger has an active headrest that is completely separate from the other headrests and fitted with speakers. The speakers are controlled by amplifier electronics, which make it possible for each headrest to reproduce individual acoustic signals. In addition, there is a separate voice control for each seat in the vehicle, along with personalised information such as navigation information for the driver, while their passenger is able to make telephone calls at the same time. The placement of the loudspeakers leads to a significant improvement in intelligibility and thus to increased reliability in acoustic interaction.
Ergonomics Interaction Communication – EIC for short – enables elements such as iCS, near field audio, three operating worlds and HMI aspects to be evaluated in real operation and tested by interested parties.
The future of mobility poses numerous challenges for all of us. The acceptance of technical innovations certainly represents a central topic in this regard. The interaction between autonomously driven vehicles and passers-by or other road users will also go hand-in-hand with many changes. Furthermore, will people agree to surrender to technology and have themselves transported to their desired location in something that is little more than a device to move people around? AUDIO MOBIL has tried to present all these challenges within the framework of DiMoReg – the Digital Mobility Region. DiMoReg represents the concept of a real test environment in a suburban area for semi-automated and fully automated vehicles. Car manufacturers and suppliers, together with transport operators, can use the environment to test their technical parameters in real operation.
The next logical step for the interface between humans and machines. Modern vehicles are becoming increasingly complex. Are people still able to keep up or do the technical features and input options exceed our neurological capacity? In 2016, AUDIO MOBIL developed a test procedure for human-machine interfaces. It can be used to verify the input options in vehicles in a replicable manner and scientifically evaluate them on a pre-defined test track: because technology is only as good as how it’s used.
CEO Thomas Stottan is well-known for his decades of experience in the field of vehicle networking and usability of HMIs. In 2017, Springer Verlag approached AUDIO MOBIL and nominated their CEO, Stottan, for the Golden Steering Wheel among the team of HMI testers. This most extensive vehicle test in Germany – carried out by AutoBild – is often used as a reference point for the world’s best vehicle manufacturers.
The exclusive personal interaction car – or as AUDIO MOBIL calls it, “EPIC” for short – is the second prototype vehicle from AUDIO MOBIL. It is based on a Rolls Royce Ghost. The vehicle showcases technical developments such as rear seat entertainment, the personal audio system and Active Zone Separation®. Our innovative developers also integrate elements of driver-vehicle communication into the vehicle and bring them to life.