Auto Service World
Feature   November 1, 2000   by CARS Magazine

Firm to develop hands-free Internet for cars

According to E-Automotive Report, people in North America spend a combined 500 million passenger-hours in their vehicles each week, or 26 billion hours annually. And up to 80 percent of cellular phone...


According to E-Automotive Report, people in North America spend a combined 500 million passenger-hours in their vehicles each week, or 26 billion hours annually. And up to 80 percent of cellular phone calls are originated from within an automobile. Meanwhile, according to Delphi Automotive research, 36 percent of handheld computer owners surveyed reported that they use their handheld computers while driving.

U.S.-based MobileAria, Inc., intends to develop a new, hands-free mobile Internet service platform for the automobile, providing an open platform to enable “in-vehicle” access and management of personal information, mobile Internet services and entertainment through a hands-free, “eyes-on-the-road,” voice-activated interface.

UBS Warburg expects the voice and data automotive service market in the US to grow to $33 billion by 2010. MobileAria’s strategy is to capture a significant portion of this market by leveraging portable, user-friendly, fast-to-market, and open platform solutions for any vehicle.

As network capacity and hardware capabilities continue to evolve, MobileAria intends to provide enhanced multimedia content, information and entertainment, including streaming audio and video, mobile commerce, stock trading, rich messaging and additional location-based services. At launch, the service will be broadly available as an after-market product for the millions of vehicles currently on the road and will eventually be available as an option in new cars. The firm did not declare an availability date. Competition will come from portable wireless Internet systems that are operating now on a limited basis through some cellular providers, and through OE systems.


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