As one of the only socially-distanced ways for people to travel, the car is garnering fresh attention as people begin to rediscover the joys of road trips and afternoon drives. While Americans have increasingly looked to their cars as sources of shelter and escape this year, the unique role of car audio in driving that sentiment is clear in a recent survey, which found a staggering 85% of Americans noting that listening to music while driving positively impacts their mood and is essential to the overall in-car experience.
However, the benefits of powerful, immersive in-car audio don’t stop at enjoying music or podcasts. With more Americans looking to their cars as source of shelter and escape, there’s a new trend in the car audio space – one that HARMAN is helping power with our upcoming NatureScapes solution. NatureScapes brings a host of immersive, natural soundscapes into the vehicle cabin turning an ordinary drive into a relaxing, immersive experience filled with all of tranquil sounds of nature.
Read on for an update on some of the newest trends in in-car audio – from music, to wellness driven solutions like NatureScapes, and beyond.
The Power of In-Car Music
HARMAN, in conjunction with OnePoll, launched a study to uncover how the power of music has been helping Americans manage during stressful situations. They found that listening to music is one of the most sought after ways to cope in times of stress with 8 in 10 respondents stating they wouldn’t be able to live in a world without music. On average, Americans are listening to 38 extra minutes of music in a day during isolation. Additionally, 81% of Americans note how important music has been for them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With social distancing advisories filling the prospect of air, train and bus travel with uncertainty, the car is now being seen as the primary source for a little mobile freedom. Powered by advanced in-vehicle technologies, today’s cars have become a place to escape, stay productive and stay connected to the things that are important in your life. In the study conducted by HARMAN and OnePoll, a majority of Americans feel music is very important for road trips stating that listening to music positively impacts their mood and sets the tone for the drive. HARMAN has a long history in audio innovation through our iconic branded audio systems and partnerships with leading global automakers that bring the power of music on the road. Our teams are constantly looking to design solutions that can help you enjoy not just your music, but your overall in-car experience.
Zen on the Road
Along with world class in-car sound systems, HARMAN is bringing the sounds and calming rhythms of nature to your car. As part of our commitment to maximize your ‘experiences per mile’, HARMAN introduced NatureScapes earlier this year at CES 2020, and it’s available now for automakers to integrate into their vehicle lineup. HARMAN NatureScapes creates immersive soundscapes that can turn even the most monotonous road into a colorful tapestry of nature. NatureScapes lets you relax to the pure sounds of nature, or layer those natural sounds over your favorite music tracks to blend and create a unique in-car environment.
As Chris Ludwig, Vice President of the Early Pursuit and Innovation Concepts (EPIC) team at HARMAN notes, “With the industry’s increasing focus on the in-car experience, the idea of the car as a personal sanctuary has been gaining traction. To help our automotive partners meet this demand, we’ve been innovating connected audio solutions such as NatureScapes for added well-being and comfort in the vehicle”. For NatureScapes, HARMAN harnessed the sounds of nature with each soundscape positioned spatially to reproduce exceptionally authentic surround-sound. “For NatureScapes, we worked with the National Park Foundation to record and recreate the soothing sounds of nature and bring them into the vehicle. The sounds can even be layered onto other sources so it feels just like listening to James Taylor play your favorite song next to a babbling brook in Yosemite,” said Ludwig. Along with layering NatureScapes on top of your music, the technology is designed to create more engagement with your audio surroundings, adding an optional voiceover to provide insightful facts about the history of some of the natural spaces NatureScapes helps recreate. You’ll also be able to add and experience new destinations, as over-the-air updates and downloadable features provide a multitude of options to cater for any mood and situation.
In addition to the open road, our cars are becoming a safe place to experience local activities and life events. From drive-in theater revivals, birthdays and graduations, people are using their vehicles to connect and celebrate in a new way that couldn’t have been imagined before. Along with this rediscovery, premium in- car audio and solutions like HARMAN NatureScapes will offer everyone a chance to immerse and relax themselves, with dynamic sound to pull you away from the dull traffic. Our summer plans may have initially had some setbacks, but we can still enjoy a safe getaway and take away the stress from isolation.