GM and Verizon Bring 4G, Skype and Video Chat in Passenger Cars

The 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was the host of a revolutionary prototype presented by GM's OnStar in the Verizon Wireless booth. Using the 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network, the carmaker installed multiple functions on the LaCrosse demonstration vehicle that could make it into production in the future.

First of all, there's the vehicle monitoring function that provide remote viewing of what happens in the near perimeter using the cameras mounted inside and outside. Of course, the images could be transmitted to either a handheld device or a computer, as long as it is connected to the Internet.

Then, there's the impact detection that streams live video to a configured server using the same cameras mounted on the car. Of course, this doesn't only mean that the multimedia files could be used in case of accidents of other unfortunate events on the road, but also to identify offending drivers in certain scenarios.

Voice portal capabilities are also provided, meaning that the driver and the passengers could use the voice recognition features to browse the Internet and access specific websites. What's real interesting is that this feature also supports the so-called video chat function that uses Skype to allow calls over the Internet.

Last but not least, the home monitoring and control service uses the cameras we mentioned earlier for broadcasting live images from around the car but also allow the owner to control the thermostat, lights and other home systems from the vehicle.

"The true broadband speed of the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network gives our engineers the freedom to re-imagine the world of connected in-vehicle services of the future,"
said OnStar President Chris Preuss.

"While we haven't decided yet which of these demonstration features OnStar will offer, or when, these prototype applications show just some of what's possible when we combine our 15 years experience in developing safe secure and leading edge connected mobility solutions with the speed and agility of Verizon Wireless's 4G LTE network. Any new future services OnStar might offer will meet our high standards for safety – making sure that drivers' hands are on the wheel and their eyes are on the road."
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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