Harman’s Ludwig: Automotive Connectivity to Rise in 2019

A manager at an automotive connectivity tech giant claims there will be an increase in adoption of such tech this year.

In an exclusive interview with TU-Automotive, Harman vice-president of epic experience Chris Ludwig predicted cloud connectivity would increase this year despite such functionality being vulnerable from a cyber-security perspective. Ludwig said: “There’s been a lot of press about cars becoming the mobility device of the future. I think there’s a lot of truth to that. Predominantly because we spend so much time in cars … I think there’s definitely going to be connectivity rises. I think more of our cars are becoming connected, both to the cloud services as well as the ability to get new things into the car with software-based experiences that enable users to customize as well as obtain the latest and greatest technology that’s out there”.

Ludwig also predicted ‘smart audio’ would be able to make autonomous vehicle back-up drivers’ journeys safer and more entertaining. He said: “On the safety side, if you think about it, we can render certain sounds in states in AVs that even regardless of their sitting configuration, we can use audio as a key communication protocol. Whether it’s a car coming from behind you or some notification sounds if you know you’re in between fully autonomous and driver-led states.”

He added that this “can lead to an enhanced experience by giving you some alerts and things that are not only meaningful for you but also, because they’re smart, can offer you some contextual awareness on location. So I think that’s a really key benefit of smart audio as a safety functionality. I think in terms of peer communication, being able to potentially interact with friends and even strangers in an autonomous type of environment, whether it’s a shared AV or an owned AV, I think offers some pretty unique use cases.”

Ludwig then claimed automakers are altering their cars’ seating arrangements to integrate smart audio and other AV-related technologies. “On seating, they kind of open up when, potentially, steering wheels vacate the vehicle. So you see concepts of seats facing each other or turning seats or moving seats. The interesting thing is from an audio perspective today, one of the good things for audio is we know where the seats are because we can optimize the audio for the seating experiences that are fixed. When seats start moving around, some of those known conditions that make our lives easier, in a lot of regards, kind of go away. So with smart audio and being able to recognize different seating locations, plus being able to price signal processing, so as to actually steer the sound regardless of your seating position, become very interesting problems that we can solve.”


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