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Harman Announces Infotainment System Advances At CES


New BMW and Harman infotainment system presented at 2013 CES

New BMW and Harman infotainment system presented at 2013 CES

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Harman bills itself as “the premium global audio and infotainment group,” so it’s a safe bet that the company would pick the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to announce its latest advancements in the field of automotive infotainment systems.

First up is its app-centric infotainment concept, built around the Android for Automotive operating system. Its primary goal is creating an intuitive user interface that delivers the same kind of connected experience that users are accustomed to on a smartphone or tablet.

Screens are designed for quick acquisition, and bottom tabs separate features like media, navigation, telephony and applications. Easily recognizable icons “grow” as the driver’s finger approaches the screen, ensuring that the right selection is made the first time.

The system’s flexible design makes it “future proof,” ensuring the ability to upload and utilize future apps. Best of all, consumer content on smartphones, media players and tablets is easily accessible, as are cloud-based services like Siri and Google Voice Search.

Drivers even have the ability to reorganize menus, as they would on a smartphone, putting applications within a specific tab. Ultimately, Harman says the system will “learn” the apps and functions most frequently used by the driver, automatically porting these to the “Favorites” screen.

Harman is also showing what it describes as its “vision for tomorrow’s premium infotainment experience” at CES, and the system incorporates such futuristic features as “touch-less” gesture controls and a heads-up display with augmented navigation.

The basis of this is what Harman calls a “multi-display” concept, which blends elements in the center console, instrument cluster and heads-up display. The idea is simple: give drivers the information they demand while reducing overall distraction.

Unlike contemporary heads-up navigation displays, Harman’s “augmented reality” display could deliver information like upcoming exits, traffic signals, lane departure alerts and even collision warnings to the driver via a windshield display.

In the connected city of the future, the display would even interact with surrounding infrastructure. You’d know how much time was left on a red light, so you could easily read email messages while you wait. Ensuring that drivers don’t miss the green light, the system shuts down the “infostream” as the signal changes from red.

Finally, Harman is demonstrating its new “connected radio platform,” which allows smartphone or media player integration into the vehicle’s audio system even in the mainstream entry-level segment. Harman’s platform delivers AHA Radio, turn by turn navigation (via smartphone app) and hands-free phoning via Bluetooth.

If you happen to be at this year’s CES extravaganza, drop by the Central Hall, Booth 10431 to see all the latest technology from Harman in person.
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