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OnStar has teamed up with long-time partner Verizon to showcase just how much the in-car technology could be capable of in the near future. A list of several new ‘prototype technologies’ ranging from entertainment, to communications to safety, are on display for the first time in a custom Buick LaCrosse at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV.
Taking OnStar beyond the confines of 4-wheels, the proposed new features are possible thanks to Verizon’s 4G network, many of them including smart phone features.
Top among the features are Vehicle monitoring and Impact detection, with cameras mounted inside and outside the car, letting a driver see inside or around their car wherever it is parked, using a computer or a smart phone. The camera can even take a short video clip, which will be triggered automatically if the vehicle is bumped by another.
Bringing OnStar from the car to the home, GM is also showcasing a new feature that would allow you to view your home through security cameras, as well as control household functions like the temperature and lights.
Additional technologies being previewed include a navigation system than can provide real-time traffic camera images to help you avoid congested streets; an Electronic User’s Guide that can show owners how to operate and maintain their vehicle through videos; a Voice Portal that will let you connect to social web sites using the in-vehicle display; and finally a Video Chat service that uses Skype to enable video phone calls using that same in-dash screen.
GALLERY: OnStar Verizon 4G Prototype Features
Official release and a video demo after the jump:
Telecom giant Verizon, in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, is making a huge push to acquire more fuel efficient vehicles. The company recently announced that it has bought 576 Chevy Silverado Hybrid pickups, the first of which will be delivered in July, from Fairway Motors, a GM dealer located in Hazelton, PA.
The Silverado Hybrid employs a two mode hybrid system with an electric motor and 6.0-liter gasoline fueled V8, which allows it to run on electric power alone at speeds up to 30 mph and also uses a cylinder deactivation system on the V8 to boost fuel economy. EPA rated fuel economy is set at 21-mpg city and 22-mpg highway. Yet power, torque and payload capacity rival other trucks on the market, with the Vortech V8 generating 332-hp and 367 ft-lbs of torque, allowing the Silverado Hybrid to haul loads in excess of 6000 lbs. In a statement to the press, Brian Small, Fleet and Commercial Operations general manager at GM, stated “we knew the Silverado Hybrid was the perfect fit [for Verizon] because of its outstanding city and highway miles per gallon ratings.”
Once they join the Verizon fleet, the Silverados will be primarily used in urban areas, where potentially the savings of using a hybrid drivetrain can be realized the most. According to James Gowen, chief sustainability officer at Verizon Communications, “a major part of our sustainability strategy is to make smart use of lower carbon alternatives to power our fleet.”
In an effort to further reduce fuel consumption, the trucks will incorporate a lightweight bed insert, courtesy of Brand FX. These fiberglass inserts will house the required equipment for servicing Verizon systems, including ladders, wiring connectors and television set boxes.