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Harman Adds PND Flexibility To OEM Nav System

3/02/2011 10:11:37 AM Eastern

Geneva
- Harman is promoting an OEM navigation system it developed for Mercedes as
combining the flexibility and upgradability of a portable navigation device
(PND) with the OEM integration of an in-dash factory system.

 The Becker Map Pilot, unveiled here at the Geneva
Auto Show, will appear in the Mercedes SLK and C-Class models. It will also
appear in other unnamed Mercedes models in the future, the company said.

The
system consists of a portable "brain" that sits in a glove-box docking cradle,
which connects the brain to the car's in-dash and steering-wheel controls and
to an in-dash display. The brain can be easily removed from its docking cradle
to connect to a PC to update map data, add new applications and features, and
add personalized information such as points of interest.

To
prevent driver distraction, the Map Pilot can be operated through controls
positioned on the car's multifunctional steering wheel and via voice commands.
The navigation route appears on the large-format central display, and voice
instructions are reproduced through the car's audio system.

Upgrades
can be downloaded at www.beckermappilot.com.

Harman chairman/CEO Dinesh Paliwal described
something similar in February 2009 in an investor conference call in which he
said automakers are looking to compete more aggressively with the PND market.

The
design would
be less expensive than combined integrated navigation and infotainment systems
and would make it possible for automakers to offer a
navigation/infotainment system without designing it into the vehicle three
years in advance of its availability to consumers, he explained at the time.

In
another OEM introduction, Harman and Ferrari launched the world's first
production vehicle with Harman's QuantumLogic technology, which converts any stereo
or multichannel audio source into 7.1-channel surround sound. The technology
appears in Ferrari's FF.

QuantumLogic
extracts signals and impulse responses from the original recording to identify
individual voices and instruments as well as reverberant spatial information.
The technology then "reauthors" the soundtrack to create a 7.1-channel
soundfield through 15 speakers, including slim B-pillar-mounted Electro Dynamic
Planar Loudspeaker (EPDL) drivers. Other features include 1,280-watt Class D
amplification, Harman hard-disk-based GPS navigation system with voice control
and verbal route guidance, USB iPod port, stereo and hands-free Bluetooth, DVD,
and -- in the U.S. --satellite radio.

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