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In-Vehicle Navigation...Which Way is it Going?

Boot Camp feature for Monday, January 20, 2003

In-vehicle navigation... which way is it going. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. The number of new cars in the U.S. being sold with navigation systems nearly doubled last year... .to about three hundred thousand according to the marketing information firm J.D. Powers. The systems use global positioning satellites along with software and dashboard screens for mapping. But are they safe? J.D. Powers says only three percent of the owners of the systems have safety concerns... .the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tells us its study is ongoing... ..but the president of the OnStar unit at General Motors, Chet Huber... is convinced safety is an issue. Huber tells us even though OnStar uses GPS for vehicle locating services, there are no plans to add a navigation screen...

"Screens in vehicles, particularly viewable by the driver can bring some pretty serious concerns relative to keeping your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. So from our standpoint, our system is today and going forward will be primarily voice based. It gives you a chance to keep your eyes on the road as your driving and we can certainly help people when they are lost and we know where the vehicle is when they call in and we're able to give them routing instructions.

OnStar, which charges a 200 dollar a year subscription fee, is adding new automatic accident reporting capabilities to its system. GM does offer screen based navigation systems in some models despite Huber's concerns. And J.D. Powers reports that more than 88 percent of current navigation system owners would recommend them to others. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.