Love listening to Kraftwerk on the motorway? How about classic rock on country lanes? Either way, Harman Kardon wants to up your in-car audio experience with a new streaming service that beams live concerts to your vehicle's in-car display, complete with new 'winged' headrests that deliver 3D spatial audio.
With music events cancelled due to Covid-19, Harman's new Live Interactive Virtual Experience (L.I.V.E.) platform aims to plug the gap by "delivering the thrills and immersive experiences of a live concert" in a socially-distant, car-friendly format.
Harman says L.I.V.E. will use 5G to stream performances directly to cars, mobile devices and smart TVs. The USP? Fans will be able to interact with the artist by cheering, making song requests or voting on the set list. In turn, the artists can "give shout-outs to fans and play fan-requested songs", thus capturing (some of) the energy and excitement of real concerts (remember them?).
To turbo-charge the experience, Harman's also revealed new high-tech headrests stuffed with JBL speakers that are said to create "individual sound zones". The basic Personal Audio Headrest Platform system allows each occupant to "adjust the level of surround sound and 2-channel audio" to their liking.
However, you can crank things up to 11 by opting for the the range-topping Plus version, which features "motorised wings" that extend from each headrest. Each wing contains additional speakers said to deliver a "3D spatial audio experience".
Thus far, Harman hasn't released details of when the concept may become reality, or which car brands are considering adding it to their vehicles. Harman's not the only audio firm developing breaking new ground in the automotive field, though – here's a look at the 2021 Jeep complete with 10-speaker McIntosh sound system.