DETROIT – Delphi Corp. uses Convergence 2004 to announce it will co-develop and manufacture the next-generation of transceiver modems for Stellar Satellite Communications Ltd.

Delphi will supply two new models of 2-way satellite communicator modems to Stellar.

One is a high-volume telematics modem that can be used in vehicles or as fixed equipment. The other will use sensors and software to relay information to and from equipment requiring advanced field intelligence, says Jeffrey J. Owens, Delphi Corp. vice president and president-Delphi Electronics & Safety.

Both provide global remote management of equipment through ORBCOMM’s satellite network for 2-way satellite communications. They initially will be used by industrial customers. Owens says the ORB system has only a 5- to 10-second delay off the satellite, essentially providing information in real time.

The units will be produced in high volume to keep cost down, says Beth Schwarting, general director-sales and marketing for Delphi Electronics and Safety. Owens says they are more durable and reliable.

Separate from the Stellar deal, Owens says Delphi will outfit an unnamed trucking company with its Truck Productivity Computer (Truck PC) product, through subsidiary MobileAria, to help manage the fleet.

The trucking company says it expects it to gain a competitive advantage with the Truck PC that will help it meet new U.S. Dept. of Transportation hours-of-service regulations.

The new rules were implemented Jan. 1, but since have been struck down by the courts. However the legal morass shakes out, new regulations are in the works that impact fleet management. Owens says the software has the flexibility to manage the new rules, whatever form they take.

He also says the use of telematics is growing faster in commercial vehicles than passenger vehicles.

Another recent development is a digital decoder box that uses satellite communication, rather than cellular, to provide drivers with information on traffic jams, narrow lanes, dangerous road conditions, dealer-service notices and other real-time information.

An undisclosed customer has used it to create an advanced navigation system in North America.

A rapidly growing technology is wireless products. Delphi is showing the 802.11 that allows consumers to wirelessly download music and information from the Internet to their vehicles from “hot spots.”

A Lincoln Aviator has been equipped with an 802.11 to show off the technology.

Research shows the number of worldwide WiFi users is expected to triple from 9.3 million to 30 million this year, Owens says. Philadelphia is looking at making the entire city a hot spot.

On the safety front, Delphi has on display vehicles with adaptive interface technologies. It is part of a research program with the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin., University of Michigan, General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. that is moving into phase two.

The program is designed to study driver distraction to show integrated technologies can help prevent accidents. A Volvo vehicle is outfitted with adaptive drive-support technologies, such as ways to monitor the state of the driver, lane-departure and forward-collision warnings and active safety integration. The Volvo also has rear back-up cameras, side alert and active parking aid.

Owens agrees vehicle safety systems will be a product differentiator in the future. He says Honda Motor Co. Ltd. has raised the bar on safety by putting the industry on notice that it will be the safety leader.

“We’re bullish on safety,” Owens says, noting it represents a big business opportunity, as safety sells.

apriddle@primediabusiness.com