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Harman launches 5G-ready multiband conformal antennas for automotive industry

Harman International has launched its “all-new” 5G-ready multiband conformal antennas for automotive applications.

Harma, which is subsidiary of Samsung, says the new product combines multiple antennas in one module that can be mounted below a vehicle’s body panels.

A modern, connected car could require as many as 18 antennas to provide all relevant services for consumers. 

This could causes extensive design and aesthetic challenges for automakers that want to keep their products connected, but still streamlined and attractive.

Harman says its multiband conformal antennas are designed to address these challenges.

Vishnu Sundaram, vice president, telematics business unit, Harman connected car, says: “Up until now, automakers have typically employed a ‘shark fin’ antenna in combination with a variety of other antennas distributed around the vehicle.

“In the era of pervasively connected cars, this layout is no longer viable for designers.

“Leveraging our close connection with Samsung and several original equipment manufacturing partners, the Harman team has designed a solution that is compact, aesthetically pleasing, and future-proof.”

Harman’s multiband conformal antennas have been derived from Samsung’s deep experience in mobile antenna design.

They have the ability to accommodate a variety of modern radio services, including LTE, GNSS, V2X, WiFi, Bluetooth, RKE and Electronic Toll Collection.

The antennas mount into an aperture opening in a vehicle’s body panel – typically the roof area or boot lid – and are covered by a waterproof, non-conductive radome.

It provides gain, and directionality, while delivering performance and the required isolation for many radio systems to operate together.

Sundaram says: “In the past six months, the idea of a conformal antenna has gained a serious share of interest from our Automotive OEM customers because it satisfies the needs of telematics engineers while providing a fresh easel for automotive body designers.

“We’re currently evaluating the antennas with several premium automakers to validate the design for each specific vehicle and expect to see the conformal antennas available for model year 2021 vehicles.”

In addition to streamlining radio services, the multiband conformal antennas can be combined in an integrated package with Harman’s Telematics Control Unit to become a “smart antenna”.

Harman says this 5G-ready technology will help automakers keep up with the pace of innovation in the telecommunications sector so that drivers of the cars of today, tomorrow, and the future can be untethered and constantly connected.

It also supports vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure safety solutions that will become standard features as cars become increasingly connected to their surroundings.