HARMAN has used their ExPLORE event to showcase an assortment of technologies ahead of CES.
At the center of the presentation were three distinct ExP concepts, which all reside in a high-tech interior mockup.
As company officials explained, consumers view their car as a ‘third living space’ and don’t want it focused exclusively on transportation. HARMAN embraced this idea and developed concepts which show how vehicles can be fun and entertaining, even when you’re not driving.
ExP Gaming Intense Max
Kicking things off is the Gaming Intense Max concept, which is designed to keep you occupied while you’re waiting in your car. Since research has shown people usually play games on their smartphone during this downtime, HARMAN brought the gaming experience to the car.
When the car is parked and gaming mode is selected, the steering wheel retracts and the widescreen display moves forward to immerse you in the action. At the same time, speakers in the Personal Audio Headrest rotate down to wrap you in a cocoon of sound.
Back seaters haven’t been forgotten as the rear infotainment system rotates to turn into a TV-like display. If that wasn’t interesting enough, echoes and background noise are minimized using ClearChat technology while conversations between front and rear rows are optimized by an In-Car Communication system.
ExP Creator Studio
If you’re a fan of carpool karaoke, the Creator Studio concept should be right up your alley. It repurposes interior microphones and cameras to turn the vehicle into a creative space where you can record and edit videos.
Audio levels are automatically adjusted, while the interior is brightened so you look good for your next viral video. Once you’re done recording, you can use the steering wheel touchscreen to make edits and upload your clip via a 5G connection.
ExP Drive-Live Concert
The third and final concept should appeal to people who have been missing live concerts as a result of the pandemic. Using the aforementioned 5G connection, concerts can be live-streamed and even shown on an external display which pops out of the rear end.
That’s just scratching the surface as the Drive-Live Concert also incorporates a number of interactive features. In particular, users can interact with performers via emoji-like thumbs up and cheers buttons. Fans can also vote for the next song, while looking up lyrics and singer bios.
While some of the concepts are unusual, HARMAN noted autonomous driving technology opens up new possibilities for the future. The company also said everything is relatively realistic and that brings us back to the Personal Audio Headrests.
They’ve been designed to meet safety standards and are now available to automakers for use in future vehicles. There are two different versions and the Personal Audio Headrest Plus is the most interesting as it has “mechanized wings,” which deploy and retract. The wings have been designed not to impair visibility and they house speakers which allow for sound zones and spatial audio.