New Car Electronics

Found this in the ClariNews. Looks like auto systems are starting to 
mature. Next trick is to put some intercar communication and avoidance 
software in. Cars can already drive themselves via cruise control, etc. 

Newsgroups:  biz.industry.automotive, living.consumer,
  Keywords:  tick=GM, tick=F, tick=SUNW, tick=IBM

ClariNet story USA-AUTOS-ELECTRONICS from Reuter / Todd

Cars go high tech at U.S. auto supplier expo

Copyright 1998 by Reuters (via ClariNet) / Mon, 23 Feb 1998 17:37:20 PST

DETROIT, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Sitting in a specially equipped Saab 9-5,
General Motors Corp. engineer Bruce Rohn was able to locate a colleague's
phone number on Monday without taking his hands off the steering wheel.

"Nomad," Rohn said, calling the on-board computer by its name. After a short
musical reply, Nomad was ready for the next command. "Start address book."

Once the address book was shown on a dashboard display, Rohn used a special
button on the steering wheel to find the number he wanted. A few seconds
later, Nomad was dialing the number.

This is the future of the automobile, according to suppliers showing their
wares at the 1998 Society of Automobile Engineers International Congress and
Exposition, which opened Monday in Detroit.

Although the computers croak out information in fuzzy electronic voices,
industry executives say it is just a matter of time before they start
showing up on vehicles rolling off the assembly line.

"It's leading-edge stuff, but certainly I wouldn't be surprised to see, in a
very few years, most of this technology show up on vehicles," J.T.
Battenberg, president of GM's Delphi Automotive Systems, said.

Adds Charles Szuluk, president of Ford Motor Co.'s Visteon Automotive
Systems parts business: "People want the same things that they have
available either in their office or in their home. That's what we're trying
to do."

Nomad, based on Microsoft Corp.'s Auto PC product, is part of the Personal
Productivity Vehicle developed by Delphi Automotive Systems and Delco
Electronics unit.

The car, featuring one of two advanced communications systems Delphi
displayed on Monday, can do more than find phone numbers. Nomad can send and
receive electronic mail, inquire about weather conditions, find a hotel,
program the compact disc player or run a diagnostic check of the car's
engine systems.

Delphi also showed off its "Network Vehicle," which combines wireless
communications, global positioning, Internet access and voice recognition
from four companies, including IBM Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Netscape
Communcations Corp.

In addition to e-mail, the car can log on to the Internet and find news,
stock prices and sports information retrieved via a flat antenna embedded in
a vehicle's roof. Drivers can find where they are going by using a
navigation system that is projected onto the windshield with a "heads-up"
display like those found on fighter jets.

Meantime, passengers in other seats can play computer games or watch
television on their own screens.

Also Monday, Visteon introduced its system, called ICES, which stands for
"information, communication, entertainment, safety and security." In
addition to cellular phone and Internet access, ICES links the computer with
climate control, audio and other vehicle systems.

Szuluk said Visteon plans to have a version of its Auto PC system available
to consumers on a post-sale basis later this year. He said it will likely be
two to three years before automakers are able to offer the technology on
vehicles as they come out of the factory.

The price to consumers will be about $1,000, he said. One system from
Clarion Corp., which will be available this year, will cost $1,299.

Although costs need to come down, Szuluk said he is convinced it represents
the next generation for vehicle communication and information.

"The only thing that prevents us from doing that, from my point of view, is
making sure the demand is there," he said.

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