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Java-based car brings new meaning to the word automatic

How long before you don't even need to steer the damn things

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Motorola, IBM, Embedded Planet and QNX have teamed up to develop MobileGT architecture, designed for in-car information systems. What this means is that we will shortly find ourselves in some very Star Trek-like situations. Soon you will be informed by your car on the way to the airport that the bad traffic you could have avoided when it told you about it doesn't matter, because your flight has been delayed )are you following this?). But it can suggest a nearby petrol station, since your tank is in the red. And that business contact whose number is in your Palm Pilot? That data was synchronised with your car's database, and the number can be dialled with a word. The system is based on an open, Java-centric architecture so that it is scalable, allowing manufacturers to customise applications to suit any market. It can address a wide range of applications, from on-board navigation systems, speech recognition systems, wireless technologies like Bluetooth and so on. Getting online while you drive may sound ridiculous, but no-one intends that users surf the Web while hurtling down the M4: the Internet can simply be used to send information to a user. "The business objective is to develop driver information systems for less than three per cent of the cost of the vehicle," said the suitably named Dan Dodge, chief technology officer at QNX. This is the critical price point that the quartet of companies believe will push this technology into the realm of the consumer. ®

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