Honda is to install hard drive-enabled audio and navigation systems in its Civic line, initially in the Japanese market only.

The new systems are capable of storing much larger quantities of information in-car than existing CD-ROM and DVD-based systems, providing so-called “smarter” car audio and navigation services.

Technology incorporated in the new systems includes Emeryville, California-based Gracenote’s CDDB music recognition services.

“Honda is taking a revolutionary step for mass produced cars: they’re offering a world-class car navigation system that gives people vast quantities of music-related and directional information at their fingertips – something that isn’t yet offered in cars that are many times more expensive,” said Gracenote president and CEO Craig Palmer. “This sets a new standard for Japanese manufacturers who already lead the world in innovation and implementation.”

All of the units will include an embedded version of the Gracenote CDDB music recognition service which enables listeners to see artist, album and track name listings, instead of the customary disc and track number, as well as providing easy methods for users to categorise and access music. It also provides a claimed “innovative” system for quick database updates via a mobile phone connection to the internet.

CDDB, via the internet, makes music information easily accessible on electronic devices by analysing music based on regional popularity and creating geographically customised databases that are embedded directly onto hard drives and updated periodically.