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TechWeek: Cloud technology in Volt demonstration could raise auto IQ

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General Motors showed off their Chevy Volt, with 4G LTE content streaming technology, at the TechWeek conference on Friday, June 22, 2012, in the Merchandise Mart. | Chandler West~Sun-Times

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Imagine this: A car so wired to the cloud that the backseat bickering goes silent, and all you hear is the click of a few controls.

That miracle scenario could occur if your car had 4G networking and innovative cloud technology delivered to each passenger via their own screen and controls. (Maybe George Jetson’s car could fly, but could it reach through space to close the garage door and turn down the thermostat at home?)

If you would like to do more than imagine, you can see a good example in the Chevrolet Volt demonstration vehicles that are part of the TechWeek buzz at the Merchandise Mart June 22-26 in Chicago.

The Volt has already jolted the industry with its cute-as-a-button appearance and plug-in electric power that has earned it “most fuel-efficient” compact car status from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Now the Volt demonstration project brings the future a step closer with a combination of OnStar technology and Verizon’s 4G network. Together they allow the car to:

• stream content from the driver’s home computer

• share music, games, videos and other content with all passengers

• control that content — and the noise level — from the console

• conduct video/Skype chats from front or rear seats

• integrate OnStar’s platform to give the owner vehicle and service information

• control home systems remotely

The demo car, a collaboration between OnStar and Verizon Wireless, was displayed earlier this year at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The project was designed to give all users in the car access to streaming content from the cloud, enabled by the Verizon 4G LTE network, while building on OnStar’s Advanced Telematics Operating System (ATOMS).

TechWeek, a five-day showcase of the technology renaissance in Chicago and the Midwest, will run Friday through Tuesday, June 22 to June 26.

One Volt 4G LTE, displayed by OnStar, will be inside the main lobby of the Merchandise Mart, highlighting how technologies can be integrated into future vehicles.

A Volt Ride and Drive will be hosted by Chevrolet in front of the Mart from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day of the show. Drivers must be 21 or older and have a valid U.S. driver’s license.

Oh, one other thing. The technology, says OnStar President Linda Marshall, will still meet safety requirements, “making sure that drivers’ hands are on the wheel and their eyes are on the road.”

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