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OnStarGM announced an upgraded feature for their OnStar service yesterday at the Chicago Auto Show.  OnStar has been around for over a decade and is actually a pretty decent service for those folks who own a GM vehicle.  You can do everything from gett live, real-time directions, make restaurant reservations and even have your email read to you all via a live operator.  OnStar is now looking to make that process simpler by allowing you to download the information to your vehicle.  How they plan to accomplish this is not entirely clear though.

“With some software changes in our module, and without a screen in the vehicle, the OnStar advisor can download the information to the system in your car,” said OnStar president Chet Huber. “As you drive and approach the next turn, the radio will mute and the driving instructions come on to tell you to turn right or left”

We say any upgrade to this service is a good thing.  If you have a GM vehicle and haven’t used the OnStar features lately,  you should get re-acquainted. 

Read More | Information Week

Gallery: OnStar Automates Directions Via GPS


DICEI’ve been in the market for a new car for some time now and I have pretty much narrowed it down to the 2006 BMW 330i.  The decision hasn’t been easy as the Lexus IS 350 gave BMW some stiff competition, but that review is for another time.  In my quest for some new wheels, there have been some absolutely essential features that I have to have.  One of them is the ability to integrate the iPod into my cockpit fairly seamlessly.  Up until now, the Harmon Kardon Drive+Play has led the quest with their slick integration with just about any vehicle.  One thing is still bugging me though, I hate the idea of installing yet another gizmo with a screen and control knob, and something so visible that makes it tempting for those nefarious types to do a smash and grab on my new ride. 

DICE Electronics has a nifty solution to my woes.  There’s not a whole lot of info available, but from what I can see, their iPod Integration Kit just might be what I’m looking for.  According to DICE:

Our hard-wired kit connects right to the cd changer port usually found on the back of your factory radio. The DICE module transfers information between the iPod and radio through a dock cable or dock cradle.

BMW is one of the many vehicles listed as being compatible with the iPod Integration Kit.  My biggest question is, does that mean it actually interfaces and works through the BMW iDrive system?  Could this be the device all of us have been waiting for?  I dunno…sure would be nice to test one and put it head to head against Harmon Kardon.  If we manage to hook up a head to head test, we’ll be the first to let you know, otherwise, I may just have to make a blind decision and hope for the best.  Either way, looks like there are more options than ever for us iPod touting technorati.

Gallery: Put Some DICE In Your Ride

Mini Cooper DeskWhat do you get for the person who seems to have everything?  How about a desk made out of a Mini Cooper (the original, not the BMW remake).  If you’re willing to part with $4,500, you too can own (or gift) a nostalgic piece of automotive history.  Of course, for around that same amount of money you can buy yourself a whole Mini Cooper to actually drive.

Read More | Uber-Review

Gallery: Mini Statements Mini Desk

Monster iCruzeIf you are looking for a way to hook up your iPod onto you vehicle this may the solution for you.  Monster is a well respected audio/video accessory company that makes you pay through the nose.  However, every now and then they put out amazing products - like the iCruze.  For a measly $99 dollars you’ll be stealing away a great connector for your iPod.  Additionally, you’ll also get a fantastic LCD that displays your tag info and a free DVD from 3 Doors Down.

For a limited time Monster is offering an amazing deal on iCruze. When you order a complete iCruze System from the iCruze Store for just $99, we will add at no additional charge all of the necessary cables needed to get your car wired for iCruze.

You will also receive one Monster Music®: 3 Doors Down LIVE, Away From The Sun (Video SuperDisc) ($24.98 value) and an iCruze™ LCD Display Module ($99.95 value), absolutely FREE!

Read More | Monster via iLounge

Gallery: Monster iCruze On Sale For $99

Chevy OpelFor those of you looking for an automotive fix today, Left Lane News brings us the scoop that General Motors will present the all-new 2007 Opel GT to the public for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show (March 2 to 12, 2006).  With exciting, sharply-cut lines, rear-wheel drive, and a potent four-cylinder turbo engine with gasoline direct injection, the new sports car “echoes the successful concept of the original GT, which was built between 1968 and 1973,” the company says. The GT is based on the same platform as the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky. It also borrows heavily from the design of both cars. The original Opel GT owed much to the USA, as well. Its lines were inspired by a new American design style, the so-called “coke bottle shape”, which also defined the Corvette Stingray.

Read More | Left Lane

Gallery: 2007 Chevy Opel GT Makes a Grand Entrance

It’s the stuff of movies and science fiction the world over - the ability to get in your automobile and let it do all of the driving for you.  Although we’re not quite there yet, Honda has a new Accord model called the ADAS which will handle


of the mundane driving for you.  ADAS, which stands for Advanced Driver Assist System, will steer your car and control speed/braking with the help of a wave radar system.  The system does require the driver to touch the steering wheel every ten seconds, so that the car knows a human is still “paying attention”, but will handle the rest beyond that.  There are some limitations though, a few of which are - the car must be traveling between 20MPH and 112MPHh (wow!), the lane dividing lines must be visible, and there should be no sharp curves in the road.  Honda expects all of their vehicles to have this feature no later than 2016.  Currently only available in the UK, the car retails for approximately $46,500 - so it’s not an inexpensive alternative to paying attention to what’s going on around you. 

Read More | NewsFactor

Gallery: Honda Accord on Autopilot

ApteraIt’s pure speculation as to what would cause three engineers to create a startup company whose current focus is creating a hybrid vehicle that they claim will get 330 MPG (miles per gallon).  Maybe they have a grand vision of the future as a place with little dependency on fossil fuels or possibly they just saw dollar signs.  Regardless, their goal is admirable even if it seems a bit hard to swallow.  Their company, Accelerated Composites, is hell-bent on mass-producing this lightweight (850 lbs), aerodynamic, two-seat vehicle that will combine incredible fuel efficiency with a high safety factor.  Oh, did I mention that all of this can be yours for under $20,000?  While I remain doubtful of the vehicle ever achieving large scale production numbers, I’m hoping they can achieve some success with their product.

Read More | Accelerated Composites via Gizmag

Gallery: Aptera 330 MPG Hybrid Vehicle

WorldTracker Google EarthHave a nefarious

reason to know the whereabouts of your spouse, teenager, or wayward employee?  Introducing the WorldTracker SMS by Security Concepts.  The WorldTracker SMS is a small GPS device powered by the SiRFstarIII chipset (which includes WAAS for signal correction/accuracy) and includes a built-in tri-band GSM module for sending tracking messages via SMS to as many as seven cell phones or PDA’s.  With Security Concepts’ monthly service offerings, you can also track your target using Google Earth – a first in the industry for real-time trackers.  The device can run for up to 24 hours on its own internal lithium-ion battery, or with the inclusion of an external battery pack anywhere from 4 to 15 days.  For those extended tracking sessions the GPS can also be hardwired to any 12-volt power source.  Street level pricing appears to be $600-700 depending on where you shop.

Read More | WorldTracker SMS Product Page

Gallery: WorldTracker SMS and Google Earth

XtremeMac RoadshowLet’s face it, trying to watch the latest episode of Lost (or The Bleeding Edge) on your iPod Video while in the passenger seat of a car speeding down the highway isn’t known to be the easiest of tasks. The XtremeMac RoadShow aims to take a bit of the burden off, offering a solution that allows you to integrate the iPod into a vehicle entertainment system. For $49.95 USD, you get an 8-foot long RCA cable that sends the audio and video from the iPod to the car, along with a 12-volt power adapter to keep the iPod juiced up during the trip. Call us impressed.

Read More | XtremeMac RoadShow via MobileWhack

Gallery: XtremeMac Roadshow Integrates iPod Into Car Entertainment System

Dephi introduced their revolutionary drowsiness and distraction detection system as part of their “cocoon of safety” set of auto safety-based integrated technologies. The system automatically locks onto your eyes and monitors them for signs of drowsiness. Long before you actually begin closing your eyes for prolonged periods, your pupil and eye movement activities let them system know that you may be getting drowsy and allows it to prepare to alert. Further, when the system detects that you’re distracted for a period longer than that required to say, check your blind spot, or change a lane, it can also issue an alert.

Check out our video interview with one of the Delphi developers as he walks us through the technology, explains its future implementations and lets us see exactly how it works. (And enjoy a psuedo-infrared shot of me, seeing just how flexible the system is.)

With integration into other safety systems, like adaptive cruise control and assisted braking, the eye-tracking won’t necessarily just alert the user, but can instead proactively help to prevent or reduce the severity of an accident. As someone who’s nearly killed himself a few times on the I-10 to Tucson at 1 am, I can hardly wait.

A few notes about the video demo, after the jump.

Click to continue reading CES 2006 Video: Delphi Eye Tracking Driver Drowsiness and Distraction System

Gallery: CES 2006 Video: Delphi Eye Tracking Driver Drowsiness and Distraction System