Harman and Navdy team up to offer HUDs to OEMs and consumers

Aftermarket heads-up driving accessory maker Navdy is teaming up with Harman, one of the leading suppliers of connected car systems and other components for automobiles. Harman, recently acquired by Samsung, has made a strategic investment in Navdy, and will also co-brand a new “Navdy with Harman” aftermarket HUD device that will be sold both directly to OEM automotive companies, as well as to consumers in North America starting in January.

The team-up is a clutch partnership for Navdy, which began shipping its first product this fall after a successful funding campaign that accumulated over $2.4 million in pre-orders from customers. The Navdy HUD allows anyone to add a heads-up display to their vehicle, which can project information directly onto a car’s windshield from a connected smartphone.

Navdy’s own product costs $799, which is fairly steep given other competitors selling similar devices via Amazon. Navdy’s software is more custom-designed, however, including hands-free gesture control, and its hardware is also designed to work in all lighting conditions. HUDs are a relatively common feature on new vehicles, but older cars looking to retrofit are a big and growing market, according to an IHS market survey cited by Navdy and Harman, which is part of the reason for Harman’s interest in this new tie-up.

Harman should provide Navdy with a lot more reach in terms of distribution, and the companies also note there will be some crossover bundle deals with Harman auto and audio accessory brand JBL. The Navdy ingredient also gives Harman a new category to add to its existing range of infotainment-related devices, in a field that could potentially become big business in an era where other early aftermarket standouts like Bluetooth add-on kits are becoming less relevant as cars without them installed as factory standard options are aging out of the market.

Harman’s recent purchase by Samsung in a deal worth $8 billion is a great indicator of how much interest there is in staking out real estate in the car market by tech companies. Aftermarket is a significant portion of this potential next focal area for tech, especially for capturing additional revenue opportunity now, rather than a few years down the road, and that’s good news for startups pushing the space forward like Navdy.