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USA: SXSW: Chevy Volt concept car can stream video

If a new iPad can tap into the fastest 4G cellular networks, why shouldn’t your car exploit speedy wireless broadband? The folks at GM think it should.

Parked on a sidewalk outside the Austin Convention Center is a Chevy Volt that is GM’s “second generation connected research vehicle.” GM’s OnStar subsidiary and Verizon Wireless had the car on display during the Consumer Electronics Show in January but advances have been made since, and the vehicle is in a much more public setting in Austin.

Inside the car are two modified Galaxy Tab tablets, each capable of showing off wireless streaming movies. Sure lots of cars these days have DVD players. But the ability to stream movies and other content gives rear seat passengers a lot more entertainment and informational choices, theoretically from the likes of Netflix or Hulu, or even from material you’ve recorded on your DVR at home. During my demo outside the parked vehicle, the screens showed the Angry Birds game, clips from the movie Rio, and a live Skype video call. You can do tablet-to-tablet gaming, with the driver given controls to override everything from an in-dash console.

Since CES, audio controls were added to the Volt concept vehicle.

OnStar says the car is now fully road-worthy though they kept it parked during the demos.

OnStar’s vice president of strategy, Nick Pudar, says he’s met with several dozen developers at SXSW to discuss a cloud-connected car and related initiatives. Some developers want to put apps in the actual car that are aimed at the driver and/or at passengers. Some want to produce apps that will interact with the vehicle wherever you are.


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