With OnStar's new prototype technology, drivers can host a video conference, get live traffic-cam feeds or even adjust their home thermostat. General Motors Co.'s telematics division is considering those applications and more under a new partnership with Verizon Wireless that has a goal of delivering 4G mobile broadband technology to GM vehicles.
The Verizon deal is an important step in OnStar's evolution from an emergency-response and diagnostics service to a full-blown infotainment system.
The deal would allow OnStar to offer services like voice-based Web browsing that are available on Ford Motor Co.'s Sync infotainment system. OnStar will show off the technology in a Buick LaCrosse research vehicle at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
OnStar President Chris Preuss said that the true broadband speed of the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network gives its engineers the freedom to reimagine the world of connected in-vehicle services.
Verizon, which launched its 4G service in December 2010, said it is 10 time faster than the current 3G network.
Preuss said the applications would let drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel; however, he said that federal regulations could influence what services OnStar brings to market. [via autonews - sub. required]