Electronics maps out car future

Electronics maps out car future
Tom Foremski in Washington DC Car navigation and vehicle multimedia systems have been showcased by electronic firms at a conference in Washington DC. STMicroelectronics demonstrated a high-tech multimedia car, Navigation Technologies showed a navigation system with real-time traffic data while Jaguar displayed an in-car communications system. STMicroelectronics unveiled what it calls a multimedia car which will be largely marketed in Europe. For an extra $2,000, car buyers will be able to equip their vehicles with a Global Positioning System (GPS), a back seat entertainment system, an enhanced dashboard display, a voice controlled cellular phone, a videocamera, a video games console and a fingerprint-based car security system. Navigation Technologies demonstrated a system that displays real-time traffic data, enabling drivers to skirt traffic jams through the combination of traffic data from SmartRoute Systems with its Navtech database. “There is now significant coverage in the major population areas… and we’ve made the investment to enable our database to accept real-time traffic information,” said Harry Voccola, senior v-p at Navigation Technologies. Meanwhile, Jaguar showed a car equipped with GPS and a wireless communications system that offers owners a 24-hour roadside emergency service based on Motorola’s telematics communication unit system. When a problem occurs, the driver presses a button to talk to a messaging centre which sends out for help, with GPS determining the car’s location. The car systems were introduced at the annual meeting of the US Intelligent Transportation Society which is co-ordinating the development of ‘smart cars’ and intelligent highway systems.


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