Last week, hundreds of automakers, suppliers and industry pundits gathered in the Motor City (aka Detroit) to discuss the future of the vehicle interior at the WardsAuto Interiors Conference. Our own Chris Ludwig, chief engineer of acoustic systems, represented HARMAN’s deep investment in advancing in-car experiences by speaking on a panel titled “Wellness, Personalization and Entertainment," moderated by Cecile Giroux, manager of interior design at Fiat Chrysler Auto and an adjunct professor at Detroit’s College of Creative Studies. Also featuring Faurecia Automotive Seating director James Hotary, the panel offered insights on how vehicle interior solutions of the future will offer technologies that can therapeutically soothe stressed drivers, relieve motion sickness and completely revamp in-car audio systems with the tap of an app.

At HARMAN, we believe audio and acoustics play an important role in shaping the evolution of the modern car interior and can be  the basis for creating meaningful new in-car experiences.  In his presentation, Chris discussed the growing consumer demand for vehicle features that are more personalized, connected and adaptive to the moment and how these trends can be leveraged for the entry level and luxury segment – two key markets that analysts are highlighting for high growth opportunities. Citing examples of HARMAN’s recent audio innovations such as Voyager Drive, Individual Sound Zones and the Summit Audio platform, Chris explained how rethinking traditional vehicle interior architecture, integrating software and more “supercomputing” capabilities is making a safer, more enjoyable in-cabin experience possible in a cost-effective way for automakers and consumers.

Chris Ludwig
Chris Ludwig, Chief Engineer of Acoustic Systems

Looking forward, the panel discussed how new trends like augmented reality, autonomous driving and the internet of things are being applied in new ways to transform the vehicle interior so that people feel better after having been in the car than beforehand.

Overall, the experience reinforced our belief that it’s a great time to be in car audio. The continued shift towards the connected car and autonomous vehicles is opening up a wealth of opportunities for audio and sound management – from offering unparalleled next-level music listening experience, to enhancing comfort and safety. We’re excited to have participated in this highly visible event that’s so uniquely focused on the vehicle cabin, and look forward to next year’s conference.

A great recap of Chris’s panel can be found here. To learn more about the conversations coming out of the event, check out the coverage on WardsAuto.