It’s still going to be a while before we’re able to safely attend live concerts in the way we’re used to, but Harman has unveiled a solution that might help fill the gap.

As part of its pre-CES presentation, the company announced a new solution that could combine live events with the drive-in movie experience. The Live Interactive Virtual Experience (L.I.V.E.) platform would let concertgoers remain in their vehicles and physically see the artists on stage, while the music is streamed directly to their cars via 5G. The platform would work in conjunction with another Harman announcement, the personal audio headrest platform, which brings 3D spatial audio, surround sound, and two-channel audio directly to individual ears.

The Harman solution adds mechanized wings to the headrest, which deploy on demand. Once they’re folded out, the company says, users have a more premium experience with features like sound zones. The wings do not block visibility, says Harman. The headrest platform is available now for upcoming vehicles.

Placing speakers where the listener’s ears are is hardly a new technology. Many shows in Las Vegas subtly place them into the seats to create a more dynamic experience. But few auto manufacturers have made the leap from a more traditional speaker set-up.

The one-two punch of the L.I.V.E and the headrest platforms could give music lovers an opportunity to safely get back to concerts, though its long-term effectiveness is questionable, given the development of vaccines for COVID-19. The company says it feels it’s filling a need.

“With traditional live events being put on pause, the demand for live music experiences is higher than ever,” said Frank Moffa, senior vice president and general manager of Car Audio. “At Harman, we understand that music and experience are deeply intertwined. … The vehicle can be transformed into the embodiment of a live concert … ensuring fans can enjoy that undeniable energy and magic of a live performance no matter where they are.”

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