In-car conversations made easier with Voice-Sensing Volume Fade EV technology from HARMAN

harma a samsung company

CES 2020, LAS VEGAS – JANUARY 6, 2020 – Audio specialist HARMAN is aiming to put an end to constant fiddling with the volume whenever you want to chat in the car. As part of its EV Plus+ Solutions, a suite of audio technologies created specifically for electric cars, Voice-Sensing Volume Fade can differentiate in-car communication from music, seamlessly adjusting the audio volume level down when conversations are taking place and automatically turning the music back up as soon as the conversation has finished.




This technology, available now for car makers, is one of a number of personalisation features that EV owners could choose from HARMAN’s Audio Marketplace, a new, cloud-based ecosystem that allows users to add and update in-vehicle audio, entertainment and communication features on-demand via Over-The-Air updates. Other features include NatureScapes where HARMAN has partnered with the National Park Foundation in the US. Using authentic recordings, NatureScapes delivers fully immersive soundscapes into the car from locations including Yosemite Falls and Mammoth Dome so occupants can transform the stress of dense traffic or monotony of dull scenery with their choice of real sounds from nature.

HARMAN has also looked at making audio hardware more suitable for EVs. Ecotect ensures powerful audio performance with half the parts and boasts reduced weight, reduced complexity and reduced power consumption when compared to a traditional system.

“At HARMAN, we believe the next-generation of mobility should convert the time you spend in your car into time well spent – and electric vehicles are no exception,” said Bill Wyman, VP of Global Marketing, Lifestyle Automotive. “Environmental concerns are guiding purchase decisions more and more, but the demand for premium experiences hasn’t changed. Through the ground-breaking delivery system of Ecotect that underpins EV Plus+ Solutions, we’re enabling automakers to fulfill these needs for their customers, without compromises, for the very first time.”





Remote tyre pressure monitoring to improve the safety of autonomous vehicles

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New technology from Sumitomo Rubber Industries enables remote monitoring and predictive maintenance of tyres

Falken’s parent company, Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI), has developed a solution to remotely monitor the tyre pressure of an unoccupied vehicle. In a crucial step towards ensuring the safety of autonomous vehicles Level 4 and above, SRI has successfully established links between its tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and an Autonomous Driving Control Centre.

The new technology has the potential to support predictive maintenance to prevent flat tyres or other tyre condition concerns that may pose a risk to the safe operation of autonomous vehicles. It has been developed in collaboration with the Center for Research on Adoption of NextGen Transportation Systems (GRANTS), which is based at Gunma University in Japan. Having worked together on joint research since May 2019, links have now been established for communicating tyre data between an autonomous vehicle and the Driving Control Centre at GRANTS.

The system works with an indirect TPMS mounted inside the tyre rim. This transmits pressure data to the onboard computer system via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), which in turn sends the data to the GRANTS control centre. The pressure of each individual tyre can be monitored from the control centre via a Data Management Display.

This development is one of a number of technologies SRI is developing to achieve greater safety and performance while reducing environmental impact. Earlier this year it unveiled its Smart Tyre Concept, a suite of tyre technologies that provide greater fuel efficiency, increased tyre durability and improved safety while also being more environmentally friendly. SRI will continue to develop systems and services that anticipate and pre-empt issues that can result from inappropriate tyre pressure, wear or damage.

Harman Kardon enters new partnership with Volkswagen, bringing pure listening pleasure to the VW experience

harma a samsung company

The VW Golf 8 is the first-ever Volkswagen to offer Harman Kardon’s beautiful sound 

HARMAN International Industries, a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., focused on connected technologies for automotive, consumer, and enterprise markets, is building on its longstanding partnership with Volkswagen Group to bring the sublime sound and sophisticated design of Harman Kardon branded audio solutions into VW vehicles worldwide. The branded audio partnership debuted with the global launch of the all-new VW Golf 8 unveiled at a spectacular event at the new Hafen 1 location in Wolfsburg, Volkswagen’s home city in Germany. More than 650 international guests from 20 countries attended the world premiere of the new Golf 8 and – for the first time in a Volkswagen vehicle – a Harman Kardon Premium Sound System.

“HARMAN and the Volkswagen Group have a long history of collaboration on impactful in-vehicle experiences in the Connected Car, Infotainment and Telematics spaces,” said Dave Rogers, President, Lifestyle Audio at HARMAN. “With our shared commitment to excellence and innovation, the extension of the HARMAN and Volkswagen Group partnership into the branded audio space is an exciting development for both companies. Music and driving are a powerful combination, and the captivating sound of Harman Kardon is sure to unlock a new level of connection between VW customers and their vehicles.”

VW Golf 8 with Harman Kardon - Source Volkswagen AG (1)

With Harman Kardon appearing for the first time in Volkswagen cars, drivers and passengers of the new VW Golf 8 are in for an exceptional in-car experience. The eighth generation of Volkswagen’s best-selling car, the new VW Golf 8 brings together elegant design, greater digitisation and connectivity, assisted driving, electrified drives, and an array of customisation options that allow drivers to create the VW Golf 8 that suits their tastes and preferences. And when it comes to in-car audio, the Harman Kardon Premium Sound System ensures that the VW Golf 8 truly stands out.

Winner of many prestigious design awards, Harman Kardon melds the beauty of music and the sophistication of design, both at home and in the car. Harman Kardon’s audio engineering and design teams have a well-deserved reputation for creating some of the industry’s most celebrated audio experiences. They have worked closely with Volkswagen from the earliest stages of vehicle development to ensure that the Harman Kardon Premium Sound System in the VW Golf 8 offers memorable musical experiences. It features a powerful 12 Channel Ethernet Amplifier with an output of 480 watts and 10 high-performance speakers. The result is a sound that captivates, bringing listeners into the moment and heightening every drive.

Designed to integrate harmoniously into the interior of the new VW Golf 8, the Harman Kardon Premium Sound System impresses with its sophisticated yet functional design. Distinctive speaker grills are highlighted by a 60°-hole pattern in a nod to the iconic angled slash in the Harman Kardon logo, and are crafted from ultra-thin 0.5mm high-strength steel to support optimal acoustic performance.

Echoing the highly customisable nature of the VW Golf 8, the Harman Kardon Premium Sound System offers four sound settings for a more personal listening experience that users can modify according to their mood: Pure, Chill Out, Live, and Energy. In each setting, the sound system delivers exceptional acoustic quality and excellent sound reproduction, so that every note captures attention.

Greg Sikora, Senior Manager and Head of Acoustic Systems Engineering for HARMAN, leads the team that spent hundreds of hours perfecting a sound designed to move a new generation of VW customers. “The Harman Kardon Premium Sound System combines innovative features and sophisticated design, creating high quality sound that invites consumers to fully immerse themselves in every moment in their VW vehicle,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is a truly inspiring listening experience for every passenger, every time.”

VW Golf 8 with Harman Kardon - Source Volkswagen AG (5)



Falken’s James Deane claims historic Formula Drift triple

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The Irish drift master defends both his Formula Drift and Drift Masters European titles to be crowned double champion yet again 

Falken drift driver James Deane claimed his third Formula Drift Pro title at Irwindale Speedway, California, on 19 October 2019. The 28-year-old Irishman joined the series in 2017 and has won every year since, making him the first person in Formula Drift history to win three consecutive titles.

During the season, Deane steered his Nissan S15 drift car, which is shod in Falken RT615K+ tyres, to six top-three finishes, including victory in St. Louis, Missouri. The Worthouse Drift Team driver entered the final round with a 19-point lead from his closest rival, Fredric Aasbø, who was knocked out of contention by Deane’s team-mate Piotr Więcek in the second round. Deane finished third at Irwindale after battling with Ken Gushi in the semi-final; his 67-points haul was enough to put him 52 points clear and earn him the history-making title. The points also helped Falken to victory in the Tire Cup, which it claimed with 1,189 points and a 237-point lead.

“I can’t believe it! This is a completely unbelievable result; never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d end up taking the triple in Formula Drift!” exclaims James Deane. “It was a challenging year for us. The level of competition has really come up this season and it’s been a real motivation to push myself even harder. My team-mate Piotr is a phenomenal driver and he’s been a great inspiration; I’ve learned so much. Thanks to him, Falken, the Worthouse team, my family and everyone who supports me, all my fans from around the world. I’m so pleased to have brought home the title again for the team, and for Falken to win the Tire Cup. I just love the sport, taking part, watching it, and I’m so pleased with this unbelievable result.”

James Deane 2019 Formula Drift Champion (6)


The traction needed for Deane’s sideways action is provided by Falken RT615K+ tyres. Running 235/40/18 tyres on the front and 295/40/18 on the rear of the 900bhp Nissan S15, the Falken rubber delivers the high levels of grip required to cope with the car’s power and accelerate sideways through the corner.

Deane’s outstanding victory follows the successful defence of his Drift Masters European Championship title in his new teal and blue Falken Tyre Eurofighter BMW E92. The Castletownroche-based driver was crowed 2019 Champion at his home track of Mondello Park, Ireland, in September. It was his second consecutive Drift Masters European Championship title and his seventh European title in total. Also adding to his incredible run of results, Deane was named 2019 Oman Oil Marketing International Drift Champion back in March.

“It has been an incredible season and a complete dream come true,” adds Deane. “There have been some tough times to come back from but the final results show that we’ve got the cars, the tyres and fantastic teams to see it through and get the results. Thanks, as always, to everyone for their unrelenting support throughout the year.”

Download video: James Deane – Falken – 2019 Formula Drift Champion.mp4

James Deane 2019 Formula Drift Champion (5)

James Deane 2019 Formula Drift Champion (8) - Copy

James Deane 2019 Formula Drift Champion (2) - Copy


Falken opts for VLN9 outing with Porsche factory pairing

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Sven Müller and Patrick Pilet to share Falken’s Porsche in final 2019 VLN round

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Falken has opted to contest VLN9 after securing the services of Porsche factory pairing Sven Müller and Patrick Pilet for the final round of the series. Falken had originally planned VLN8 to be its final outing for its Porsche 911 and BMW M6 but the opportunity to test 2020 set ups with the works drivers led the team, run by Schnabl Engineering, to return to the Nordschleife for the season-closing race.

For Müller, it marks a return to the tyre manufacturer where he starred in the 2018 qualifying session, securing a front row slot. For the French pilot Pilet, an N24 winner that year, VLN9 will be his first run on the Falken rubber.

„Our original plan was to conclude our season at VLN8 where we scored another top six finish in the Porsche,” says Falken’s motorsport head Stefanie Olbertz. „This was our first year with the 991.2 so when we were offered the opportunity for some extra running, together with the chance to get feedback from two highly experienced Porsche drivers, it made sense to enter VLN9 too. We’d like to thank Porsche for the opportunity.”


Compact, high power ‘crate’ EV powertrain simplifies switch to electrification for niche vehicle manufacturers

Swindon Powertrain


Swindon Powertrain’s High Power Density EV system is a highly compact ‘ready to integrate’ electric powertrain for light commercial, sports, classic and recreational vehicles. 

Swindon Crate EV HPD 2

A new compact 80kW ‘crate’ powertrain that makes it easier for specialist OEMs to electrify their low volume sports cars, light commercial and recreational vehicles has been announced. Swindon Powertrain’s High Power Density (HPD) EV system will ease the transition for manufacturers currently frustrated by the lack of compact, high power EV systems available to buy in low volumes.

“To date, niche manufacturers have not had access to compact, high-power EV powertrains they could source in low to mid volume, leading to a vacuum of supply,” says Swindon Powertrain’s managing director Raphaël Caillé. “When you factor in development costs, specialist OEMs haven’t been able to electrify their vehicles as quickly as they would like. Our ready-to-install ‘crate’ powertrain will accelerate EV adoption in sectors poorly served by the larger tier one manufacturers and integrators.”

Swindon Crate HPD1


Funded by the Niche Vehicle Network and working in partnership with electric motor manufacturer iNetic and automotive specialist Code, Swindon Powertrain’s HPD project will create a turn-key ‘crate’ transverse system with the highest power/volume ratio on the market. So compact is the 70kg HPD EV powertrain – 600mm wide by 440mm deep by as little as 280mm tall, that the motor, inverter, single-speed transmission and cooling system assembly fits under the bonnet of a classic Mini, in a quad bike or under the loading platform of a light commercial vehicle.

The HPD project will develop tooling, including castings, and identify manufacturing techniques to have the unit in production by June 2020. Core R&D and validation will be covered by the programme, easing development costs further for integrators. This project follows Swindon Powertrain’s programme earlier this year to electrify an original Mini, integrating an all-new and robust EV system into its tight confines.

Multiple mounting points and flexibility for inverter and cooling pack locations will enable it to fit a range of vehicles from sports car through to commercial vehicles while waterproofing options makes it suitable off-road leisure and recreation vehicles.

Other sectors set to benefit include OEMs that could use it as an e-axle for hybrid passenger car applications as well as the growing number of retrofit classic cars being converted to EVs. “Some of these classic EVs currently use second-hand parts of unknown provenance,” adds Caillé. “The HPD project draws on our engineering expertise from over 48 years in motorsport to offer a reliable, compact and durable solution for this sector too.”

JBL and Garage Italia Amp Up the Sound of Custom Cars

harma a samsung company JBL becomes the preferred audio partner of Milan-based Garage Italia with legendary sound for custom-designed cars  HARMAN International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. focused on connected technologies for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, and Milan-based Garage Italia, specialised in customising vehicles, today announced a new partnership, that will bring legendary JBL sound to Garage Italia’s custom-designed cars. As part of the collaboration, Garage Italia will customise their vehicles with JBL’s portfolio of car aftermarket and consumer audio solutions to create unique sound solutions. Extending its portfolio of Icon-E project cars, Garage Italia revealed yesterday the first of five customized Fiat Panda 4×4 vehicles that will be revealed one by one during the Autumn/Winter 2020 Season. The idea of Icon-E is to give a new life to iconic classic cars, by equipping them with an electric motor and freshening them up with a new customised design. Using an all-wheel-drive Panda from the first series, produced between 1983 and 2003, the cars are a real manifestation of Italian design. The Panderis car opens the way, born from the synergy with Vitale Barberis Canonico, the Biella-based woollen mill with over 350 years of history that enriches the 4×4 with a unique sartorial touch thanks to the interiors made with its fabrics. For a bold, vibrant sound experience, the designers of Garage Italia are using JBL Car Aftermarket speakers, custom fitting them into the vehicle cabin. Four JBL Club 4020 coaxial loudspeakers and a JBL Basspro SL active subwoofer will make the heart of the car passengers rise with the beat of their favourite tune. Garage Italia is one of the leading and most renowned customisation companies in the world, customising products to be unique works of art. Founded by Lapo Elkann, the DNA and mindset of Garage Italia are inspired by the tradition and the excellence of ‘Made in Italy’ in the automotive, design and tailoring fields. This combined with the ability to explore the customisation world in an innovative and disruptive way through artistic interpretation, craftsmanship and passionate attention to detail is what makes both world-leading car manufacturers as well as car enthusiasts turn to Garage Italia for customised works of art. “We are proud and excited about this new partnership with Garage Italia,” said Mathias Brand, Sr. Director, Global Marketing European Customers, Automotive Audio at HARMAN. “They are unique in the field of world class automotive customisation through outstanding design. Integrating our JBL aftermarket-audio and consumer audio solutions into these exceptional cars will certainly deliver truly unique experiences to the customers.”   JBL x GarageItalia_PanderIS_VBC-2329 JBL x GarageItalia_PanderIS_VBC-2380

First self-contained engineering-class driving simulator unveiled, capable of validating the latest automotive megatrends

Ansible Motion Logo


  • Ansible Motion’s Theta C compact driving simulator is a powerful, self-contained cube that opens opportunities for rapid deployment of engineering class driving simulators in any location
  • An effective driver-in-the-loop simulator to validate and showcase increasingly complex vehicle systems, including ADAS, active safety systems and autonomy
  • A key tool for connecting real people with virtual vehicles and systems
  • First production units available on September 30, 2019

A new compact and self-contained cube simulator, powerful enough to validate driver assistance and autonomous technologies in today’s vehicles, has been unveiled by Ansible Motion Limited. Thanks to its compact footprint and sophisticated computational architecture, the new Theta C driving simulator offers OEMs, Tier 1s, research institutes and industry bodies a more immersive and car-like, environment than is currently available from other compact simulators. It also avoids the complexity and facility challenges typically associated with automotive test equipment of this accuracy and calibre.


Ansible Motion’s principle of clean-sheet design and innovation has fueled the introduction of the most immersive environment ever for a compact Driver-in-the-Loop (DIL) simulator, whilst making the practical operation much easier. The key engineering class componentry required for human immersion is presented with meticulous attention to detail inside an approximately 2m x 2m x 2m cube. The Theta C brings a higher quality of simulation to those who have been restricted by space or cost. It incorporates a panoramic projection system, detailed vehicle interior, Ansible Motion’s renowned immersion technologies for driver touch points, active steering torque and seat loading systems, foot pedal and gear select emulation, along with a surround sound audio system. Its integrated form and internal sound isolation mean it can be used in standard office spaces.


“Vehicle complexity continues to increase, putting pressure on development timescales and resources. More companies and departments now need access to human-in-the-loop simulation technologies to validate hardware and software solutions,” says Kia Cammaerts, founder of Ansible Motion. “As the most innovative driving simulator company in the market, we identified that some current DIL simulators offer the required fidelity but also require permanent installations. This means a high capital expenditure to cover the simulator itself as well as the facility. Theta C is different. The cube analogy is apt as Theta C is a fundamental building block for connecting real people with automotive simulations, anywhere in the world. We have optimised complexity, quality, and time-to-deploy. You can wheel it in, plug in and start work. It can be operated stand-alone, or it can connect with external Software-in-the-Loop (SIL) and Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL) systems.”


Combining versatility and ease-of-integration with customers’ existing development processes, Theta C is compatible with all leading vehicle modelling and scenario tools, including those from Dassault, MSC, AVL, Mechanical Simulation, and more. Complex traffic and actor scripting, together with sensor integration, make Theta C ideal for validating scenarios for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), active safety and autonomy.


“The Theta C simulator is a direct response to our interactions with OEMs and Tier 1s, who are seeking dependable, rapid, and powerful validation tools. There is an unprecedented demand being driven by megatrends in autonomy, electrification, connectivity, and driver assistance,” adds Cammaerts.


Acknowledging this steep rise in vehicle technological developments and validation, Reportlinker analysts predict that the driving simulator market will reach 2.4 billion USD by 2025. Ansible Motion has ensured each element of its Theta C product line is scalable in terms of both hardware and software aspects in order to keep pace with the automotive industry’s technology progression.


Ansible Motion began production of the Theta C driving simulator after favourable responses were received from its initial exhibit at the JSAE 2019 Congress in Yokohama, Japan, in May 2019. The first production units will be delivered to customers in Q4 2019.


Theta C is part of Ansible Motion’s driving simulator range, which includes the flagship Delta dynamic simulator. The same computing and software architecture is used throughout, allowing simulation programmes to be scaled between the different simulators.


Interested parties can contact Ansible Motion directly to learn more about the Theta C driving simulator.

Theta C inside


Ansible Motion




Falken factory-fit for Audi Q3

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Further OE announcements for Falken Tyre Europe with contract to supply Audi’s compact SUV 

Audi’s compact SUV, the Q3, is the latest vehicle to be factory-fitted with Falken’s high performance tyres. Nimble in the city, agile on country roads and balanced on the motorway, the versatile family SUV will be fitted with the 215/65R17 99V derivative of Falken’s ZIEX ZE914 A EC AO pattern.

The Falken ZIEX ZE914 is now exclusively available for the original equipment sector where its lower rolling resistance, good handling and braking properties, even on wet roads, offer an ideal combination for today’s driver. With developments to its rubber compound and an optimised profile, engineers have created a tyre that blends safety and fuel economy, whilst retaining the driving characteristics that led to the tyre being ‘recommended’ by leading media tyre tests in Germany, including Auto-Motor-Sport magazine and ACE-Lenkrad.

Key OE account manager at Falken Tyre Europe GmbH, Christian Stolting proudly said, “The Audi engineers’ decision highlights once again the excellent quality and the capability of our tyres.”

Falken sponsors AUDI NINES mountain bike event

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Nearly 4,000 spectators experienced live the AUDI NINES mountain bike spectacle on offer to them in the Ellweiler quarry near Birkenfeld last Saturday. 28 of the world’s best mountain bikers from eleven nations gathered there to spend a week producing film and media content in a spectacular setting, with a public contest day as the crowning finish to a successful weekend.

For the second time, Falken sponsored the event, which already held its winter sports equivalent in Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, Austria, at the end of April. Uniquely, the AUDI NINES offers two outstanding advantages for the tyre brand. First, the event generates huge interest as well as very high reach, especially among the target groups relevant to Falken via both online and offline channels. Moreover, Falken can make use of the content produced on site with the athletes and use it for its own channels. For example, footage from the AUDI NINES winter event can be found in the tyre brand’s current TV campaign.

“The partnership with AUDI NINES is very successful. This is undoubtedly thanks to the format of the event but also to the fact that we share the same values when it comes to enthusiasm and precision,” comments Markus Bögner, COO and President at Falken Tyre Europe GmbH, on the engagement. “We would like, not only to continue the engagement, but to expand it further in the future.”