AUTO CHINA 2014, BEIJING -- Harman International Industries, Inc. (NYSE:HAR), the premium global audio and infotainment group, announced today it has entered into an agreement with China’s Tsinghua University to establish a new joint research laboratory focused on creating disruptive innovations for future vehicles.
Based in Beijing, the HARMAN-Tsinghua Automotive Innovation joint lab will focus on both technical and business considerations of the connected car, and ways to make cars more productive, intelligent, immersive, and safe. Among the initial joint research topics, the HARMAN-Tsinghua Automotive Innovation lab will conduct research into the Chinese and global automotive market of the future, examining topics such as strategic market analysis, innovation in future infotainment technologies, and the intelligent use of audio technologies.
“We are pleased to partner with Tsinghua University, one of the premiere automotive research institutions in China, to examine the increasingly critical issues around mobile connectivity and in-car safety and security,” said Dinesh C. Paliwal, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at HARMAN. “As the world’s leading audio and infotainment systems provider, we see tremendous value in partnering with top thought leaders from different disciplines to inform our next generation systems. Because China is the fastest growing automotive market in the world, we believe the Chinese perspective will be extremely important as we develop solutions for future vehicles. We are excited about this new relationship and the work we will do to make our vehicles and our roads safer.”
Tsinghua University is consistently regarded as one of the most prestigious institutions in China. The university’s Automotive Engineering Department is a leader in research, with scientific programs focused on automotive safety, energy conservation, environmental protection, and strategy. The HARMAN-Tsinghua Automotive Innovation lab will work in close cooperation with the Tsinghua Automotive Strategy Research Institute (TASRI).
Under the initial three-year partnership, HARMAN will provide up to 4.5 million RMB (approximately US$700,000) to fund facilities, faculty, and student research. The new facility will allow for joint research projects, and for HARMAN staff to be located on-site with students and faculty.
“Trends like big data, smart connectivity, and the evolution of the user experience will all play a role in helping make cars a more productive environment,” said I.P. Park, Chief Technology Officer at HARMAN. “We look forward to working closely with Tsinghua University on applied research to combine advanced connectivity with intelligent audio solutions that will lead us to more immersive and enjoyable in-car experiences while at the same time improving vehicle and driver safety.”
“This generosity will allow the university to continue to pursue this important research in automotive technologies, and help us recruit and retain the very best talent to our program,” said Prof. Frank Zhao, Director of the TASRI. “Harman is a recognized leader in automotive innovation, particularly for in-car networking, vehicle system integration, and for innovative solutions that address the issues of driver distraction due to system complexity. Working with Harman and its talented engineers, we believe this partnership will reap benefits for the university, for HARMAN, and for society at large.”
HARMAN currently employs about 2500 people in China, and maintains R&D and manufacturing facilities in Shanghai, Suzhou, Shenzhen, and Dandong.
HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures, and markets a wide range of infotainment and audio solutions for the automotive, consumer, and professional markets. It is a recognized world leader across its customer segments with premium brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, and Mark Levinson® and leading-edge connectivity, safety and audio technologies. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of 14,800 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $4.7 billion for the last twelve months ended December 31, 2013.