Denso prepares its answer to Sync
Denso's system, called Blue Harmony, offers drivers music, directions, e-mail, Internet radio, news headlines and other options, all of them managed through voice commands. The information is displayed on a touch screen mounted in the center of the instrument panel, said Craig Matichuk, Denso's telematics systems engineer. Matichuk led the development of Blue Harmony at Denso's North American headquarters in suburban Detroit.
The system remains under development, and Denso is demonstrating prototypes to potential customers. The system is expected to go into production in 2011. Denso spokeswoman Bridgette Gollinger declined to identify the potential customers.
This year, Kia Motors America will debut a similar system developed by Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group on the 2011 Kia Sorento compact SUV. Visteon Corp. and Delphi Automotive also are developing competing technologies.
Unlike some voice-activated infotainment systems on the market, BlueHarmony does not require specific voice prompts to, for example, play a particular song over the vehicle's sound system.
The BlueHarmony system also allows the user to customize the touch-screen layout and download Denso-developed applications to run services such as Pandora Internet radio, the social networking Web site Facebook and the photo-sharing Web site Flickr.
A Blue Harmony prototype demonstrated at the Detroit auto show allowed Matichuck to create a new station on the customizable Pandora system simply by saying, “I want to make a new Pandora station.”
Denso ranks No. 2 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with estimated worldwide sales to automakers of $27.76 billion in its 2008 fiscal year.
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