Automotive Technology Developer Harman Acquires Germany-based Augmented Reality Software Company Apostera – FutureCar.com

Author: Eric Walz   

Harman International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. announced the acquisition of Apostera, a Germany-based automotive technology company that specializes in augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) software.

The acquisition by Harman will help the company expand its automotive product offerings and will help lead to the development of new AR and MR technologies for automakers. These AR technologies can be used for instrument clusters, infotainment systems and head-up displays (HUDs).

Apostera aims to transform a vehicle’s windshield into a mixed reality screen, where vital driver information is displayed for easier navigation.

As part of the deal, Apostera’s employees will join Harman’s Automotive division. 

“We are proud to join Harman, a visionary leader in automotive technologies that has been central to the digital transformation of the industry,” said Andrey Golubinskiy, CEO of Apostera. “The scale and reach that Harman will bring to our technologies will propel their adoption as the industry benchmark and bring richer in-vehicle experiences to more drivers than ever before.”

Harman is well known for producing high-end audio products. The company’s brands include highly respected audio brands AKG, Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon and Mark Levinson. But in addition to vehicle audio systems, the company designs and engineers a full portfolio of connected products and solutions for automakers, including connected car systems and visual products.  

More than 50 million vehicles on the road today are equipped with Harman audio and connected car systems, according to the company.

Apostera’s mixed reality solution combines Augmented Reality, Machine Learning (ML), Computer Vision, and sensor fusion in a hardware-agnostic software platform. Combined with Harman’s digital cockpit product portfolio, these new software solutions will help bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds, according to Harman. 

AR technology inside a vehicle can be used to develop more immersive visual experiences. 

These new types of advanced AR displays can also help drivers keep their eyes on the road by projecting important road information in their line of sight. It also helps drivers perceive their surroundings more accurately through real-time interaction with the objects on the road.

“Harman is dedicated to delivering in-car experiences with the speed and flexibility of consumer technology together with the reliability and performance of automotive-grade solutions,” said Christian Sobottka, President, Automotive Division, Harman. “By seamlessly blending AR with the physical environment, Apostera’s mixed reality solution furthers this goal, transforming any display in the car into a richly contextual experience.”

Digital instrument clusters have already replaced mechanical gauges in most new vehicles and the advances in electronics and display technology allows automakers to offer more visually dynamic instrument clusters for their vehicles, including AR displays. 

Other companies are also developing AR solutions for the auto industry.

In December, StradVision, developer of AI-based computer vision processing technology for autonomous vehicles and advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), announced a partnership with LG Electronics to develop an advanced vehicle instrument platform, based on AR.

Stradvision believes that AR instrument cluster technology is expected to become a requirement for enhanced vehicle safety within a few years.  

An augmented reality head-up (AR HUD) instrument cluster can project driver information such as navigation and various ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) warnings to the windshield based on data collected in real-time through sensors installed on the vehicle. 

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In addition to today’s announcement of the acquisition of Apostera, Harman also unveiled two new audio products called “Ready Together” and “Software Enabled Branded Audio”. Ready Together uses advanced acoustic technology to streamline and enhance in-vehicle communication and entertainment. It uses advanced sound zone technology so that each vehicle occupant can enjoy their own media. 

Harman’s Software Enabled Branded Audio is an on-demand software platform that upgrades the sound quality and features of existing factory car audio systems with a simple touch of a button. Harman says that it delivers the sound and character of Harman’s renowned Infinity high-end audio brand with no additional hardware. It also offers a personalized EQ Overlay that can be customized according to individual listening preferences and a feature called “Seat-specific tuning”.

Harman announced both new products are now ready for in-vehicle integration.

https://m.futurecar.com/5193/Automotive-Technology-Developer-Harman-Acquires-Germany-based-Augmented-Reality-Software-Company-Apostera

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