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Harman is designing smart interiors for tomorrow's autonomous cars

The company is set to show off a number of novel UX ideas at CES 2018.
Andrew Tarantola, @terrortola
January 8, 2018
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The days of owning your own car may soon be coming to an end, what with the growing popularity of ride sharing matched with the promise of autonomous vehicle technology. Should that self-driving car service future come about, Harman International want to be ready with audio and connected vehicle systems to match whatever you're riding in to your specific mood and tastes.

On Monday, Harman announced its new Configurable Entertainment and Moodscape experiences, built using the company's new AudioworX development platform. Configurable Entertainment is geared towards commercial ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft and will allow them to "offer multiple in-car brand and entertainment experiences through a single set of in-vehicle hardware," according to the release. To do this, the company also announced that it is developing shape-shifting speakers. If the car you hailed arrives equipped with a JBL sound system and you want a Harman Kardon, the vehicle's central soundbar will literally change shape to look and sound like the HK.

The Moodscape concept is just as nuts. Using a QLED display, biometric feedback, GPS and app syncing, tomorrow's autonomous cars will be able to match its music to your mood, whether you're on the way to the gym or a funeral. It will also conceivably be able to generate personalized audio alerts. That QLED display, it's going to be mounted on the ceiling, called the "MoodRoof" and generate "immersive visual landscapes" that you can watch instead of a billowing headliner.

By 2025, all of these designs, along with level 5 autonomy -- are expected to be rolled into what is essentially a person-sized shoebox on an electric truck chassis. Behold the future of autonomous transportation everyone, the Rinspeed Snap. Harman plans to show off all of these concepts at CES 2018 in Las Vegas from January 9th -12th.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

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