• Apr 26, 2012
First displayed at CES earlier this year, GM brought its 4G LTE Chevrolet Volt demonstration vehicle to the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit this week. The car marries GM's OnStar telematics system with Verizon's 4G LTE data network to answer one question, according to OnStar's Dave Cheney: "If you had a high-bandwidth connection in a car at all times, what would you do with it?"

The all-good-news answer to that question is to stream all sorts of media from the cloud to the back seats: videos, video calls, etc. Via the built-in front screen, the car could also control networked appliances back home, things like lights, A/C units and garage doors. Also, the thing that makes this system different from just having two video screens in the back of the car is that driver can control what's on the back seat screens: starting or stopping apps, pausing media, adjusting volume, etc.

Cheney told AutoblogGreen that the details on how a system like this could be implemented in the real world are not really fleshed out since this is just a test project (an evolution of a Buick LaCrosse shown at the 2011 CES). It's clear even at this early stage that the idea of an in-car network creates something entirely different than a back-seat passenger simply bringing his own iPad, so you would need to tie the devices to the car somehow. But, Cheney said, it also doesn't make sense to force the customer to buy two tablet computers (Samsung devices, in the prototype) that only connect with the vehicle and are likely to become old technology well before the car's end of life. So, if you make the system work with any device brought into the car, how do you create an app that allows the driver to have control over the back-seat devices? And how do you prevent children from simply not using that app if they want to play a game that mom doesn't want them to play? OnStar has no solution to this question right now, but Cheney said that some customers will want a system that "just works."

Because the prototype vehicle is a Volt, the system integrates charging and smart grid information. Compared to the regular battery/charging information in a production Volt, Cheney said, this new system includes better navigation and the ability – should a particular charging station offer it – to reserve charge time.

Below, we've got a video of the system's debut and have also pasted GM's press release announcing this car in January.

Show full PR text
OnStar, Verizon Unveil Second-Generation Research Vehicle
Static Chevrolet Volt demonstrates power of Verizon 4G LTE Network

LAS VEGAS – OnStar and Verizon Wireless unveiled a second-generation connected research vehicle at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

The static Chevrolet Volt research concept vehicle focuses on a comprehensive in-vehicle experience giving all users access to streaming content from the Cloud enabled by the Verizon 4G LTE network and building on OnStar's Advanced Telematics Operating System (ATOMS).

The Volt research cars will be featured as part of the Verizon booth (South Hall, Booth 30259) as well as the OnStar booth (North Hall, Booth 1330) in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The prototype applications demonstrate:

Streaming content: The 4G LTE connection provides passengers access to streaming content from their home computer or via a popular streaming service.
Sharing content throughout the vehicle: OnStar has developed a method for the in-vehicle sharing of content among users.
Rear seat infotainment management: With the use of an advanced Human Machine Interface, the user has independent control of the two rear zones, allowing transmission of cached or streaming content, including music, videos, games and news, to each rear passenger.
Video chat: Rear seat passengers can make a Skype video call from the vehicle to anywhere: vehicle to home, vehicle to mobile device, or vehicle to vehicle.

Additionally, OnStar built on its pioneering work with Smart Grid technology and home connectivity to develop in-vehicle energy management applications:

OnStar RemoteLink: Full integration of OnStar's RemoteLink mobile application, giving the Volt owner the opportunity to access remote vehicle information and services.
Real time diagnostics and Eco Routing: Volt owners can access charge status, distance on remaining charge, find and reserve charging locations and manage pertinent Volt information and vehicle diagnostics.
Home Energy Management: OnStar allows users to control the home thermostat, lights, garage door and other systems directly from the vehicle.

Following the 2011 CES joint research vehicle, OnStar's advanced innovation engineering team continued collaboration with Verizon's LTE Innovation Center to further investigate the potential of the connected vehicle. The takeaway was developing a more holistic cloud connected in-vehicle experience.

"These applications are just a glimpse of what is possible when you combine the cloud computing capabilities of OnStar and the power of the Verizon 4G LTE network," said OnStar President Linda Marshall. "Moving forward we want to continue to provide our customers with a comprehensive suite of connected services and create a seamless and safe in-vehicle experience."

While the applications shown in the static Chevrolet Volt research vehicle are only conceptual, they demonstrate future opportunities the OnStar ATOMS Cloud capabilities can provide in combination with broadband accessibility.

"Any future services from OnStar will meet our high standards for safety – making sure that drivers' hands are on the wheel and their eyes are on the road," Marshall said.

OnStar, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors, is the global leading provider of connected safety, security and mobility solutions and advanced information technology. With more than 6 million subscribers in the U.S, Canada and China, OnStar is currently available on more than 45 MY 2012 GM models, as well as available for installation on most other vehicles already on the road with OnStar FMV. More information about OnStar can be found at www.onstar.com.

Verizon Wireless operates the nation's largest 4G LTE network and largest, most reliable 3G network. The company serves 107.7 million total wireless connections, including 90.7 million retail customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with nearly 83,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Consumer advocates exposed On-Star's unauthorized tracking of driver's movement and location even when On-Star is supposedly turned off. The data is fed to On-Star which then marketed the personal information without the knowledge or authorization of the vehicle owner or driver. Such gross violation and sneaky use of GPS is an afront to liberty and 4th Amendment. In response to On-Star spying on people, consumers have abandoned it in droves by not buying On-Star or having it dismantled completely. GM's newer technology is not the answer to the unauthorized spying but a bait ******* unsuspecting consumers.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Can you provide any proof that On-Star continues to work when turned off? Can you provide any proof that On-Star markets personal information? If not I hope On-Star sues you for libel.
        • 2 Years Ago
        I could be easily solved with a simple hardwired power switch. Would increase the time it takes to lock the satellites... but it should be a reasonable alternative to "all or nothing".
        Alfonso T. Alvarez
        • 2 Years Ago
        Wow - what do we do? Should we adopt the mantra of: When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout?? BTW, I think you should have bought the tinfoil hat that was shrink resistant - yours is clearly cutting off oxygen to the logic centers of your brain!
          Marco Polo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez Ah, heard that in the absence of a tin foil hat, lying on a mat with a brown paper bag over your head, while drumming your heels on the floor is also efficacious !
        MTN RANGER
        • 2 Years Ago
        Um, I like to see a citation/link for the mass abandonment of Onstar.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Don't worry about OnStar. Your iPhone or Android is a much better tracking device!
      Actionable Mango
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yes. http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/09/onstar-tracks-you/ “What’s changed [is that if] you want to cancel your OnStar service, we are going to maintain a two-way connection to your vehicle unless the customer says otherwise,” Denison said in a telephone interview. “We hear from organizations periodically requesting our information,” he said. He said an example of how the data might be used would be for the Michigan Department of Transportation “to get a feel for traffic usage on a specific section of freeway.” The policy also allows the data to be used for marketing purposes by OnStar and vehicle manufacturers.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Slightly off topic but I have just seen a Vauxhall Ampera TV advert for the first time in the UK. They didn't show much of the car and didn't really get across the driving experience or ultra low running costs, perhaps it's just a teaser ad and they will evolve.
      Rich M
      • 2 Years Ago
      Looks neat, but I'm not paying for another wireless plan just for my car. It should use my home WiFi when parked in the garage or driveway, my cell phone's existing data connection when on the road, and Car Wifi <> cell phone WiFi link when away from home, like from my office to the parking lot to check status or remote start.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rich M
        I agree that $20 per month is a ripoff and the car should be wifi enabled - this would be a good feature to have in any case because there are many rural households that have zero cell phone reception, but they have internet and wifi. I wonder if you could use a microcell to provide internet access to the car... On the plus side gm does give you 5 years for free when you buy a volt. It does seem like a handy feature in case of a serious accident or if your car is stolen.
      Ele Truk
      • 2 Years Ago
      "If you had a high-bandwidth connection in a car at all times, what would you do with it?" Ha ha ha ha, very funny. Ask any 4G LTE customer how their 4G connection is. Not to mention it's limited to a few specific metropolitan areas. So I hope they don't really expect continuous 4G connection because in the real world there is no such thing. Plus the things they mentioned (smart grid and charger reservation) do not require 4G connection. Only if you are trying to do a live video feed from the car will you even approach the bandwidth that 4G can provide. Maybe the interior is virtually generated and projected over the 4G connection?
      • 2 Years Ago
      If the car has an LTE connection then it could provide a local wifi hotspot to the vehicle for laptops & wifi ipads.
        • 2 Years Ago
        But GM doesn't want open and encumbered internet access, people would use it to stream netflix! The horror! It must be secured, managed, and monetized. For the children, think of the children!
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