Harman, the global audio and infotainment group and makers of Harmon Kardon audio systems, is developing a premium automotive infotainment system for entry-level luxury vehicles. The new system is designed to complement the company’s systems for the mid-level and high-end luxury market segments. The new platform represents the first global navigation and connectivity offering for entry-level luxury vehicles — including those in the fast-growing Asia markets where a Chinese language navigation module will be offered. “This new platform will open the world of premium infotainment to a fast-growing segment of automotive customers,” said Dinesh C. Paliwal, Harman’s chairman, president and CEO. “Dynamic navigation and integration of smart mobile devices have significant global appeal for today’s ‘connected generation’ and this new development will introduce them early to the benefits of a full-featured, in-dash system. Our multi-tiered approach to premium infotainment will provide a logical road map to increasingly sophisticated driver experiences as loyal customers progressively move up to more luxurious models.” The new Harman system employs advanced System-On-a-Chip (SOC) technology to simplify the integration of multiple infotainment features within a compact, cost-effective package. Its cutting-edge device connectivity will support wireless integration with smart mobile devices such as iPhone, Blackberry, and Android-based smart phones to deliver mobile office features such as e-mail, SMS text messaging and calendar functions. Advanced speech processing technology will enable drivers to send and receive messages verbally for safety and convenience. The system’s navigation module is based on the rapidly-emerging NDS industry standard, to which Harman has been a charter contributor. Along with high-resolution 3-D route graphics, the system will support incremental updates to ensure that drivers have the latest map information along with notifications of construction zones, speed limit restrictions, etc. Real-time traffic information will also be supported where available to alert drivers to congestion, accidents, or temporary road closures along the programmed route. “Early feedback on this new initiative from leading global automakers and their customers has been very positive,” said Paliwal. “We look forward to working with our automotive partners to expand the marketplace and take rate for premium, in-dash infotainment systems.” Harman (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets — supported by 15 leading brands including AKG, Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon and Mark Levinson.