New Tech Is First From Automakers to Feature Harman’s Aha Radio
Finally getting in synch with the top players in the U.S. auto industry, Honda will introduce its own comprehensive in-car connectivity and infotainment system on the coming 2013 Honda Accord. Named “HondaLink,” it “will enable customers to put away their phone and still stay connected to the people, music and media they love," according to Vicki Poponi, assistant vice president of product planning for American Honda. "By creating an intuitive and customizable user interface, HondaLink allows drivers to access digital content as easily as choosing a radio station."
This isn’t just boasting, either, as HondaLink will be the first factory-installed connectivity feature to include Aha Radio from the audio experts at Harman. The technology allows drivers to use their smartphones to create custom “radio stations” with cloud-based content from Internet and on-demand music sources like Pandora and Slacker, podcasts, personalized traffic info, and restaurant recommendations, as well as audio updates from Facebook and Twitter accounts. And with the Aha mobile app, the same “stations” are available outside of the new Accord via the customers’ smartphones themselves.
To make HondaLink even more friendly, it also will be controllable using voice commands, switchgear integrated into the Accord’s steering wheel, and the car’s traditional in-dash audio system.
But the 2013 Honda Accord actually won’t be the first vehicle from the automaker with this technology. A specially configured version called HondaLink EV is available in the all-electric model of the Honda Fit that is now leasing in California and Oregon. In this application, HondaLink adds functionality designed to help satisfy EV drivers, like the ability to check on the vehicle’s charge state, begin the charging process and turn on the climate system to heat up (or cool down) the Fit EV while it’s still plugged in—helping to ensure the battery is as full as possible when drivers are ready to roll.
As for the 2013 Honda Accord, it will be ready to roll into dealerships a bit later this year.