HARMAN's "Aha" Moment Weekly Brief—12.19.11

HARMAN's "Aha" Moment Weekly Brief—12.19.11

In this week's Brief: HARMAN, TeleNav, National Transportation Safety Board, NAVTEQ, Google, TomTom, Tele Atlas, Galileo In-Orbit-Validation constellation, and  Ford

HARMAN announced that five premium car manufacturers will adopt the company’s new cloud-based “Aha” platform, which the company calls “the next generation of automotive infotainment services.”

Aha lets drivers control thousands of free stations of Web-based content via a multi-purpose radio dial. The service is free and kept up-to-date thanks to the cloud-based technology platform.

HARMAN acquired Aha Mobile in 2010. Its initial Aha implementations will roll out in 2012, with the first OEM partnerships being announced during the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

“The Aha Platform enables our automotive OEM partners to offer their customers an unparalleled, ‘future proofed’ infotainment experience,” says Michael Mauser, executive vice president and co-president, Infotainment and Lifestyle.

The US National Transportation Safety Board called for a nationwide ban on driver use of portable electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.

The safety recommendation specifically damands the ban of non-emergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers.

The safety recommendation also urges use of the NHTSA model of high-visibility enforcement to support these bans and implementation of targeted communication campaigns to inform motorists of the new law and heightened enforcement.

“No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life,” says NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman.

TeleNav unveiled the first HTML5 browser-based, voice-guided, turn-by-turn GPS navigation service for mobile devices.

By adding one line of code, developers of mobile websites or of apps with local content can integrate full GPS turn-by-turn directions into their services for free, creating a more seamless user experience and increasing user engagement and time spent within their applications.

The HTML5 navigation service will include full-color moving maps, audio directions, and automatic rerouting if the driver misses a turn.

NAVTEQ expanded coverage of its real-time traffic service, NAVTEQ Traffic Pro, to the United Arab Emirates and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In a NAVTEQ regional survey, 96 percent of people using wireless navigation expressed a desire for a real-time traffic service. 

NAVTEQ will aim to meet their needs via the company’s expanded service, which will be based on data from a combination of commercial and consumer-based probe data.

Google announced on its blog that it will no longer source the data for some of its European maps from TomTom and Tele Atlas.

Rather, in the United Kingdom, Germany, Finland and Sweden the company will use its own map data, harnessing locally sourced datasets from local agencies and surveys when needed.

The company says the new data approach will result in noticeable improvements in the quality of local features, like water bodies and parks.

Engineers received the first signals from two new navigation satellites that were blasted into outer space in October 2011.

The satellites are the first installment in the Galileo In-Orbit-Validation constellation, which aims to enhance navigation with a new pack of five or more galactic satellites, to go live in 2014.

The signals suggest that the satellites are operating properly and in harmony with current GPS signals.

Ford plans to launch a major software upgrade to MyFord Touch that will make the system faster, simpler and easier to use.

The company is currently running a real-world beta test with roughly 1,000 Ford employees. The software upgrade is coming for 2013 models and to owners of existing MyFord Touch-equipped vehicles.

The employee beta test is part of a new approach to ensure a high-quality launch of the improved system.

“Employees are a great source for quick feedback, and the best part is that they are eager to help,” says John Schneider, chief engineer, Infotainment, Ford Electronics and Electrical Systems Engineering.




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