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Harman Invests In Navigation Start-Up

Harman International, the sound and car systems Company that was recently acquired by Samsung has invested in a start-up that makes projection displays that sit in front of car windshield.

The move could see Samsung enter the navigation market in Australia.

The investment in Navdy is Harman’s first since agreeing to sell itself to Samsung for $8 billion last month said Bloomberg.

Harman will work with the start-up to sell co-branded devices next year, said Doug Simpson, Navdy’s chief executive officer.

Navdy’s hardware is placed above the steering wheel and projects information from the driver’s smartphone onto a transparent screen, so the driver can see updates at a glance.

The heads-up display, which sells for $799, can deliver driving directions, text messages, song titles and alerts about incoming phone calls.

Compared to what is already available on a Samsung Smartphone which can be easily mounted in a car, the Navdy, appears to be expensive and would struggle to compete with other systems already built into a motor vehicle said observers.

Navdy could help Harman push other services by, for example, telling drivers when their cars need a mechanic, which could drive purchases of Harman’s auto parts.

Apple is currently developing its own self-driving car system, and last year it acquired Metaio GmbH, a maker of augmented reality products that counts Volkswagen AG and BMW AG among its biggest customers.

Simpson said Navdy had been in talks with automakers about an investment before opting to take money from Harman. The tie-up should help the start-up sell its devices directly to carmakers, he said. Navdy has sold about 20,000 pre-orders since 2014.

Navdy declined to comment on the size of Harman’s investment. The San Francisco company said it has raised a total of $42 million from investors, which also include chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. and several venture capital firms.