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Harman Unveils New OEM Infotainment Options

Las Vegas – Harman wants to bring OEM infotainment systems to entry-level vehicles, Quantum Logic Surround 3D technology to the car, and augmented reality to heads-up displays.

Here at International CES, Harman is unveiling an OEM infotainment system that it contends will be as ubiquitous as air conditioning and power windows in vehicles. The solution, called the Connected Radio platform, features smartphone and iPod/MP3 player connectivity, USB port, SD card slot, turn-by-turn driving instructions via an app running on a connected smartphone, and Aha Radio, enabling users to stream Internet radio stations and other web-based content into the infotainment system via a connected smartphone. Content includes on-demand music, live news, podcasts, audio books, Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds, personalized points of interest information, and the like.

The platform, which also includes hands-free Bluetooth, is available to automakers, and the company expects individual automakers to announce their plans soon for the platform, executives said.

Also at the Palm Hotel, the company is demonstrating an augmented-reality heads-up display (HUD) that will project guidance arrows in front of a driver as part of a turn-by-turn navigation system. The display will also project collision-avoidance and lane-departure warnings. Other HUD features are in the works.

The display will be brighter and offer higher resolution compared to existing HUDs, the company added.

The display will be part of a premium infotainment system that uses the Android OS for the system’s user interface and for downloading special driver-focused apps that are certified for the automotive environment and safe to use while driving. The Android OS will be separate from the vehicle’s QNX-based OS to protect the vehicle’s databus and deliver the performance and reliability of QNX while incorporating the flexibility of Android, executives said.

The infotainment system also features embedded 4G LTE cellular, in-car WI-Fi, and gesture control.

To improve the music-listening and movie-playback experience, Harman is bringing its Quantum-Logic Surround 3D (QLS 3D) post-processing technology to the car in the first-ever demonstration of the technology in a car. uantumLogic Surround 3D derives 7.1 channels plus five discrete height channels from mono, two-channel, and multichannel audio sources. The height channels consist of left, center, right and two surround channels. The company claimed the technology creates “a natural three-dimensional sound field without the artificial effects used by competitive surround sound technologies.”

QLS 3D technology is available today to automakers, and automaker announcements are coming in the near future, executives said.