STAMFORD, CT – HARMAN International (NYSE: HAR), the premier connected technologies company for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, today announced the development of a mid-air haptic feedback system, developed in partnership with Ultrahaptics, an organization dedicated to creating a connection between people and technology by using ultra sound to project sensations onto a hand. The new technology allows drivers to control infotainment and audio systems with hand gestures, enabling them to keep their eyes on the road and lowering cognitive distraction while driving. Reducing driver distraction is critical as distracted drivers are responsible for accidents that daily claim more than eight lives and cause 1,161 injuries in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In collaboration with Ultrahaptics, HARMAN has created a mid-air haptic system featuring sophisticated sensations that can control multiple in-vehicle systems, including audio infotainment functions. The system creates haptic sensations that track the driver’s hand movements, which then gives feedback for various gesture commands. The haptic solution allows drivers to simply move their hands in the air and feel the controls to adjust their embedded infotainment system.

“As cars become more connected, driver safety has never been more important, which is why HARMAN constantly works to deliver solutions designed to keep drivers safe on the road,” said Stefan Marti, VP, Future Experience, HARMAN. “Our haptic feedback solution makes the driving experience safer by enabling drivers to keep their eyes on the road while still maintaining intuitive control of infotainment and audio systems.”

HARMAN worked closely with Ultrahaptics to design this unique system combining custom haptic sensations, gestural interfaces and HARMAN’s custom visual interactive Graphic User Interface (GUI). This solution from HARMAN and Ultrahaptics showcases a unified system with a highly-integrated haptic and audio-visual component.

“Partnering with HARMAN to combine expertise from both organizations has enabled us to develop a unique solution that will improve driver safety,” said Steve Cliffe, CEO, Ultrahaptics. “Technology and connectivity continue to be further integrated into our lives, particularly in the car, requiring organizations to consistently innovate to deliver technology that will change how drivers interact with their vehicles to keep them safer while driving.”