Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is technology that mirrors smartphone interfaces on a vehicle’s display. If there’s any hassle, it’s the requirement to physically plug in the device, and now Harman is removing even that minor inconvenience. Through a combination of wi-fi and Bluetooth, customers will soon be able to pair their iPhone wirelessly with CarPlay.
At the moment, Harman’s connectivity solution isn’t yet on the market, and the firm's promotional image clearly demonstrates the system in a BMW. The company promises the tech will be “available through select OEMs,” and the tech will arrive first from a yet-unnamed “luxury German automaker.” BMW, then?
When asked about the German firm getting the components, a Harman spokesperson Darrin Shewchuk told Motor1, “Unfortunately, we are not able to share any specific customer names.” The company supplies infotainment systems to a wide variety of automakers including Volkswagen Group, Daimler, and BMW.
Once connected, the wireless CarPlay pairing works just like the current system. Drivers can still use their phone, play music, control navigation, and open mobile office apps. Voice recognition continues to function, too.
Motor1 also asked Harman about whether the company could update existing hardware with wireless CarPlay connectivity, but we haven’t yet received a response. Owners have been able to get updates for the tech in the past. For example, Hyundai and Kia were able to add CarPlay functionality to some of their vehicles by letting owners download the new software on a USB stick or SD card.
A study in 2016 by J.D. Power and Associates showed that drivers generally preferred using navigation from their phones rather than automakers’ built-in tech. The people reported the user interface on the mobile device was simply easier to navigate. A vice president at the company predicted that CarPlay and Android Auto could be a solution to owners’ annoyances with automakers’ infotainment units.
A patent published late in 2016 suggested that Apple has turned its attention towards bringing augmented reality into cars. The tech would display navigation data and points of interest on an iPhone, and CarPlay could conceivably interface with the vehicle to display the info on the dashboard. A connection like Harman's innovation could simplify the process even more by removing the need for any wires.
So long as you remember to charge your phone, that is.
HARMAN Pioneers First-Ever Integration of Apple CarPlay Through Wireless Connectivity
The groundbreaking system illustrates synergy between smartphone and embedded infotainment capabilities and is available through select OEMs
February 23, 2017 Connected Car
STAMFORD, CT – HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated (NYSE: HAR), the premier connected technologies company for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, today announced the successful commercial implementation of Apple CarPlay integration through a wireless connection, a first for the connected car industry. Through HARMAN’s end-to-end infotainment system, a vehicle’s Bluetooth and WiFi will enable the connectivity required to support CarPlay, creating a greatly enhanced wireless experience for the user. The solution is currently being deployed in the market on HARMAN infotainment systems for a luxury German automaker.
While other implementations of Apple CarPlay have been supported through a USB connection to-date, HARMAN is the first to enable wireless implementation with the iPhone connecting via Bluetooth and data transferring via WiFi. The HARMAN infotainment system provides flexibility between native and CarPlay Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs), and allows for simultaneous operation of head unit functionality and CarPlay navigation. The integration of Apple CarPlay provides users the various functions of their iPhone, including calls, music playback, mobile office, and navigation to be controlled through the car’s display. Additionally, the system also allows the use of voice-recognition for a safer, hands-free experience.
“HARMAN continues to deliver options to consumers for seamless integration of multiple mobile ecosystems into our integrated automotive platform,” said Phil Eyler, executive vice president and president, Connected Car, HARMAN. “Whether CarPlay, Android Auto, or any other projection mode solution, HARMAN is the industry leader with pioneering support for these accessory apps. We look forward to working with automakers to roll out this technology and together with many HARMAN solutions to offer consumers safe, secure, and harmonious driving experiences.”
HARMAN provides the industry’s most complete end-to-end connected car system to provide drivers intelligent, adaptable and personal solutions in the car. With more than 2,000 patents in all key domains – including safety, design, navigation, connectivity, networking, HMI and more, HARMAN continues to push the boundaries bringing connected car innovations to market that enable new connected experiences, improve driver safety and increase vehicle security.