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As OEMs like Audi and BMW battle to create the ideal vehicle interior of the future, technology company Harman – now a subsidiary of Samsung – has its own vision. Today it debuted its new "Digital Cockpit" concept at CES, and it looks like something out of the year 2050.

Gone is your typical central infotainment screen, instead Harman has opted for a massive, retractable display that extends from the center of the vehicle, all the way to the passenger door. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this design, admittedly, but it is one of the most well-executed examples. The massive QLED screen gives both driver and passenger access to a range of options, custom-tailored to its users by way of the cloud.

Harman Digital Cockpit CES
Harman Digital Cockpit CES

Two users are able to use the single screen separately – whereas the driver may use it to access navigation info or music, the passenger can use it to play games, or browse through their own personal selection of video streaming services, as pictured here. The fully encompassing QLED screen is the centerpiece, but comes accented by a few smaller, barely distinguishable OLED screens littered throughout the cabin.

Three centrally located dials control functions like air temperature, time, and allow access to voice assistants like Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Alexa. Each dial features an embedded OLED screen that displays the desired function. A smaller, barely noticeable curved OLED screen is located just below the dials, and gives the user access to things like A/C controls, driver settings, other various vehicle options. 

Harman Digital Cockpit CES

All told, the styling of the cabin is sleek, and well in tune with what modern customers are looking for. It should go well with the digital moonroof, too. At CES, it comes equipped in the cockpit of a $338,000 Maserati GranCabrio – but Harman says that the design is configurable to all types of vehicles. 

"The Digital Cockpit platform brings an entirely new generation of communication and ergonomics inside vehicles," the company said in a statement. "Allowing drivers to focus on the road ahead while intuitively and safely interacting with their in-car technology."

Source: Harman

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Gallery: Harman Digital Cockpit CES

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It hasn’t been a year since HARMAN International became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics focused on connected technologies for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, and the two companies have already leveraged their combined teams and resources to drive future mobility forward. Unveiled today at CES 2018 are a host of unique connected car solutions that support HARMAN and Samsung’s joint mission to become the leader in connectivity and autonomous driving: connecting the lives of people, whether at home, on the go, or together in the car.

These key innovations showcase an integrated approach to a rich digital car experience, including:

  •  A reinvented digital cockpit platform for all vehicle segments that has given the interior of the car a makeover;
  • A new telematics solution along with the industry first automotive-grade 5G-ready connectivity solution; and
  • An ecosystem of partners and solutions to further build out the Samsung open autonomous platform, along with a showcase of our first implementation of this together with TTTech.

Each new solution was made possible through the HARMAN-Samsung alliance that leverages Samsung’s global scale, R&D capabilities, dominance in mobile/TV/semiconductors and distribution channels and HARMAN’s leading connected car heritage, relationships, market knowledge and growing community of innovation partners. Both companies are also making global investments in start-ups to help OEMs meet growing consumer demand for in-vehicle technology through scalable solutions that enhance the user experience for every vehicle segment.

“Together with Samsung, we have increased innovation speed through scale, resources and competencies to help automakers focus on the car’s evolution from device-centric to experience centric,” said Dinesh Paliwal, HARMAN President and CEO. “HARMAN has the heritage and expertise in automotive, and collectively HARMAN and Samsung harness our best technologies and global scale to accelerate how we better serve the needs of automakers in this rapidly evolving automotive market.”

The new Digital Cockpit platform includes a suite of flexible and scalable premium experiences that support today’s connected lifestyles without compromising safety or performance. It’s available in standard and advanced system configurations and can seamlessly integrate the instrument cluster with center console via voice, haptic feedback, and physical knobs and steering wheel controls in a single, center screen for all vital vehicle information and features. This also supports a multi-modal approach for interactions with different human-machine interfaces to allow customization in terms of HVAC, media and user settings.

The Digital Cockpit platform brings an entirely new generation of communication and ergonomics inside vehicles, allowing drivers to focus on the road ahead while intuitively and safely interacting with their in-car technology. This is made possible through a projection mode for services and apps via a user’s smartphone, allowing for increased personalization. A greater IoT ecosystem via cloud technology in the entry-level segment, as well as mid/high-level configurations, not only improves connectivity, but helps lower costs and overall vehicle weight.

In a premium configuration, the Digital Cockpit weaves together a driver’s entire connected lifestyle across the Internet of Things. Through a multi-display layout that leverages HARMAN’s Ignite Platform, the in-car user experience can be personalized for the driver and passenger via services such as virtual personal assistants, portable profiles, augmented reality and more. This also allows for the Android OS to be integrated on four displays – a first for the industry.

Focused on a future generation of shared mobility, the premium Digital Cockpit personalizes occupant experiences, so drivers and passengers feel like the car is theirs even if they don’t own it. By leveraging the phone as a key service, the system can automatically access subscription services associated with user profiles while Bixby offers intelligent personal assistance to help occupants complete tasks by voice, touch, gesture and context-based triggers.

The Digital Cockpit is scalable and made available for every automotive segment, offering future proof and safety focused features within a developer-friendly open ecosystem.

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