Harman, the world's largest car audio and infotainment manufacturer, unveiled in 2015 a new kind of sound system that lets each person in a single car listen to whatever they want without disturbing other passengers. The Individual Sound Zones (ISZ) are created by placing individual micro-speakers in each headrest and above the passenger's head, directing sound waves only toward their ears and not those of others in the car. Each zone gets its own volume controls, and only the driver hears notifications such as phone calls and navigation updates. Harman claims that music choice is one of the biggest causes of behind-the-wheel bickering, so the ISZ could make for more harmonious road trips. The system is now available to all carmakers and can be integrated easily into any existing Harman system, already present in more than 25 million vehicles.
valuation: $7.3 billion market cap as of December 2015
public or private: Public
users: Harman brands are now in more than 25 million cars, including four out of five luxury vehicles.
headquarters: Stamford, CT