Auto Tech

Harman developed one car antenna to rule them all

Whether it's paying tolls or talking to infrastructure, Harman thinks you'll need just one antenna.

Harman's PR agency found maybe the best example of why limiting the number of car antennae is a good idea.

Alamy Stock Photo via ElanPR

The future of the car is a connected one, and with that much connectivity comes a whole lot of talking -- cars talking to other cars, cars talking to infrastructure and cars talking to satellites. You might think that would take a thousand antennae, but according to Harman, it won't.

Harman, an automotive supplier, has developed a "multiband conformal antenna" for vehicles that attempts to do it all. Capable of working with 5G networks, the antenna has a whole lot of bandwidth for future connected cars, and it's capable of communicating with just about everything you could imagine a connected car would need to talk to.

Examples from Harman include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and radio connectivity, in addition to vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), remote keyless entry and electronic toll collection. In its release, Harman states that some predictions about connected cars would require up to 18 antennae to provide all the communication required in future vehicles.

But the future isn't very far off, as automakers begin rolling out limited V2X services alongside ever-increasing numbers of cars with satellite radio, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspots and remote smart-device connectivity. Harman is currently working with several different automakers to evaluate its do-it-all antenna, and it anticipates a rollout of this new technology in the 2021 model year.

While it would be funny to see connected cars rolling around with as many antennae as hairs on Elon Musk's pre-transplant head, Harman's solution is prettier and more sensible.