LAS VEGAS – OnStar and Verizon have announced today that they working on a research vehicle intended to test the concept of giving passengers access to streaming content from the cloud through Verizon’s 4G LTE network and OnStar’s Advanced Telematics Operating System. The prototype vehicle, based on the Chevy Volt, is meant to demonstrate the aforementioned streaming content, in-vehicle sharing of content among passengers, independent transmission of cached or streaming content from the main interface to a vehicle’s rear-seat infortainment system, and Skype integration.
The Skype integration is particularly interesting because it will allow rear-seat passengers to make video calls from the vehicle to your home, smartphone or tablet, or another vehicle. OnStar actually demoed the service, setting up a Skype video chat with an OnStar employee seated in the backseat of one of the test vehicles. And while company representatives stressed that this was still a test concept, they assured us in the audience that all of the mentioned services will be showing up in vehicles in relatively short order.
OnStar also announced that it is making its proprietary API’s available to select third-party developers in order to create new apps that work with the OnStar system. The first company to get access to the API was RelayRides, a company that lets users rent out their cars to other motorists. When a user rents a car, they can download the RelayRides app onto their smartphone, which then guides the renter to the vehicle’s location. The renter can then unlock the rented vehicle using the app.