According to the Strategis Group, vehicles equipped with a wireless communication system which supplies drivers with services like emergency roadside, location, and travel information, messaging, entertainment, and Internet access, will increase from an estimated 56,000 in 1998 to 1.2 million by 2003.
These systems, introduced by Motorola in 1990, are known as telematics systems and are found in luxury cars. A Motorola GPS, cellular, and telematics communication system is priced at around for US$850. The system operates from a push-button control panel located on an overhead console, with cellular and GPS transceivers installed in the vehicle’s trunk. More advanced packages, selling for several thousand dollars, include a programmable garage door-opener, hands-free mobile phone, and upgraded sound system.
Motorola reports that it is the emergency response features which persuade American motorists buy telematic systems, while the autonomous navigation services are popular in Japan and Europe. As digital cellular standards expand their coverage area, telematics will become more accepted, but sales will not significantly increase until prices begin to fall.
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