CES 2016: Harman has announced an in-car speaker that can be removed and listened to once you arrive at your destination.
The Harman ‘Infinity Voyager Drive lifestyle audio system’ is a full-range Bluetooth speaker, which means it can connect and stream media from just about any Bluetooth-enabled device in and away from the car.
The sound is provided by a detachable wireless speaker and six dynamic in-dash speakers. Those who crave bass can add the Voyager Drive+ removable bass box, which acts as a ‘full-range portable audio system in and out of your vehicle’ and a charger for the wireless speaker.
Car speaker systems are usually wired into the car so removing them is pointless, but Harman’s Infinity Voyager Drive dashboard slot – which also acts as a charger – makes it possible to take the speaker with you.
Besides making it harder for thieves to nick your speakers, Voyager Drive is said to be a more cost-effective solution because it allows manufacturers to offer audio in entry-level vehicles without the traditional constraints of door speaker and head unit architectures.
This would be especially useful in emerging markets where speakers would usually not be an option or the sound quality sub-par at best.
The Bluetooth element of the Voyager Drive, meanwhile, would allow for hands-free phone calls and over-the-air (OTA) updates so it’s always bang up to date. Just don’t lose the speaker, of course, or your next journey will be especially quiet.
Android and iOS connectivity – in the form of control apps that can create a playlist based on your current mood and schedule – also features.
Then there’s Dirac Panorama, which promises ‘soundstaging technology for a true premium listening experience’.
Harman senior vice president and general manager John Fitzgerald said: “Automakers recognise that premium audio can be an effective way to differentiate their vehicles and appeal to new customers, and they are looking for next-generation features that go beyond traditional sound reproduction.
“We are redefining the concept of automotive audio as adaptive and tailored to each individual in ways never before possible and, for the first time, we are extending these experiences beyond the vehicle to seamlessly connect music to more elements of consumers’ daily lives.”
Harman says the Voyager Drive is ready for OEM implementation (and is the key focus, as opposed to a customer launch), but is yet to name any car manufacturers that plan to adopt the speaker, if any.