harman headunit.automotiveIT

Harman expects the new LTE or 4G mobile communications standard to grow (Photo: Harman)

MUNICH -- Next-generation mobile connectivity, also known as LTE or 4G, is only just getting underway, but infotainment specialist Harman is showing how the new technology can improve connections to and from the car.

At a presentation here in the runup to the Geneva auto show, Harman demonstrated a prototype LTE based communication platform that offers theoretical bandwidth of 100 Mbit/second using the new LTE technology. The infotainment specialist hopes LTE will, within a few years, close the connectivity gap between the car and the IT infrastructure.

Such a bandwidth improvement will make access to Cloud-based data and the internet in general much easier and faster than is possible with the current UMTS mobile-phone standard, said Manfred Schedl, vice president Connectivity at Harman.

Harman's LTE platform provides a good example of the possibilities of LTE in the connected car. The company showed a head unit connected to an LTE transceiver that provided a kind of connectivity bridge to smartphones, tablet PCs and laptops used in the car. These connected via wireless LAN to the LTE receiver and from there to the internet.

The head unit can accommodate a broad range of applications that will benefit from the LTE connection. It also supports a broad range of protocols, including DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) and Office protocols such as Microsoft Exchange Server.

An internet browser supporting HTML5serves as a bridgehead for Cloud-based applications on the head unit. Through an integrated Web server, Cloud-based applications can be used in the car and these run better because LTE response times are shorter. That is important when running time-critical applications such as Cloud-based voice control for navigation or when accessing playlists in a Cloud-based music player.

Harman also has integrated NFC (Near Field Communication) technology in its LTE platform. This can facilitate smartphone payments at stores and service stations that are NFC enabled.

-By Christoph Hammerschmidt