Just when you were getting used to driving, talking on the cellular phone and drinking your morning cappuccino simultaneously, the giants of the computer and automotive supplier industry want you to be able to operate your personal computer while you drive, too.
Auto PC is the cutting edge technology showcased at this year's SAE International Congress and Exhibition, andCorp.'s Automotive Systems and Motor Co.'s Visteon Automotive Systems trumpeted their competing products.
's product, called Information, Communication, Entertainment, Safety and Security (ICES), will be available later this year as an aftermarket product. It features a small terminal powered by an Intel Pentium MMX chip and Microsoft Windows CE operating system.
The prototype demonstrated byPresident Charles Szuluk offers E-mail, Internet access and the capability to show movies on digital videodisk to back-seat passengers.
Using voice-activated technology, ICES also can tell a driver about traffic congestion and suggest alternative routes.
Meanwhile,Automotive Systems showed off its Network Vehicle, a joint venture with IBM, Sun Microsystems and Netscape.
Outfitted in a colorfully customized GMC Jimmy, the Network Vehicle provides wireless communication, global positioning via satellite, head-up displays, voice recognition and the ability to receive television reception from Hughes DirecTV satellite system.
Closer to real-world installation is a more modest offering called the Personal Productivity Vehicle that Delphi is packaging in a 1999 Saab 9-5. Developed at Delphi Delco Electronics System's Mecel AB subsidiary in Goteborg, Sweden, the PPV uses a Microsoft Windows CE-based platform. Controls are located in the steering wheel, but the system also responds to voice commands.
By speaking up, the driver can send or receive E-mail, use global positioning satellite navigation, change radio stations or adjust the front seats.
Mike Burns, general manager of Delphi Delco Electronics Systems, says Saab has not yet committed to offer the system as an option on the 9-5.