We're lucky to be bathed in warm, refreshing 4G waves while reporting live from Vegas, Sprint and Clearwire taking care of that. Verizon's catching up in a big way with its LTE rollout and now OnStar is onboard -- conceptually, anyway. The company has outfitted a Buick LaCrosse with a 4G LTE modem for the purpose of experimenting with what can be done in a car with that kind of bandwidth. It wouldn't have been our choice of cars for such application, Buick not exactly screaming "hot new thing" at this point, but of course it's not really about the car, it's about the bandwidth.

What are they going to do with it? High-def streaming both ways, for one thing, including the ability to watch home security cameras from within the car or, alternatively, to look at cameras within the car when it's parked in the night, in an alley, somewhere you're having second thoughts about. OnStar wants real-time streaming of traffic cameras and even Skype video chat, which sounds like overkill to us, but don't let us rain on your crazy mobile video chat parade.

At this point we're not sure how much of this stuff will find its way into a proper car of the future (Buick or other), but you can get a bit of a taste in the video teaser below.

OnStar and Verizon LTE

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OnStar Leverages the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Network To Drive the Future of In-Vehicle Service

OnStar shows prototype applications for entertainment, communications and safety based on 4G LTE mobile broadband


LAS VEGAS, DETROIT and BASKING RIDGE, N.J., Jan. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- From the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), OnStar today unveiled a demonstration of prototype applications for what future in-vehicle entertainment, communications and safety could look like when taking advantage of the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network.

OnStar has equipped a Buick LaCrosse research vehicle to show these applications in the Verizon Wireless booth at the show. Any future streaming video capabilities would be either available solely in the rear seat of the vehicle or only when the vehicle is in park. Among the innovative services made possible by combining the power of OnStar with the speed of 4G:
Vehicle monitoring. Cameras mounted throughout the interior and exterior of the car allow remote viewing of what is happening in and around your parked vehicle through a smartphone or PC.

Impact detection. The research vehicle has the ability to send live video to secure servers in the cloud from each of its six cameras placed around the exterior and interior of the vehicle. This is triggered by events around the car, or by an application on a smartphone. When an impact such as a parking lot fender-bender is detected, the vehicle transmits a video clip – helping to identify the offending driver.

Home monitoring and control. Keep an eye on your home by connecting to security cameras in real time through the 4Home service. Control the thermostat, lights and other home systems from your vehicle – "preset" scenes allow you to condition your home when you leave, before you return, or when you're leaving for an extended period of time.

Electronic User's Guide. Learn how to operate and maintain your vehicle through videos streamed on demand to the dashboard.

Video chat. Make a video call using Skype to connect with family, friends or colleagues when the vehicle is in park.

Traffic view. A voice-operated navigation system goes beyond calculating the best route by displaying live traffic-cam images from TrafficLand to spot congestion before you get stuck in a back-up.

"The true broadband speed of the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network gives our engineers the freedom to re-imagine the world of connected in-vehicle services in the future," said OnStar President Chris Preuss. "While we haven't decided yet which of these demonstration features OnStar will offer or when, these prototype applications show just some of what's possible when we combine our 15 years experience in developing safe, secure and leading edge connected mobility solutions with the speed and agility of Verizon Wireless's 4G LTE network. Any future services from OnStar will also meet our high standards for safety – making sure that drivers' hands are on the wheel and their eyes are on the road."

The Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network, launched in December 2010, is the fastest, most advanced 4G network in the United States, providing speeds up to 10 times faster than Verizon Wireless' 3G network. Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network currently reaches one-third of all Americans, with plans to expand the network to the company's entire 3G coverage area over the next three years.

OnStar's prototype applications are the result of collaboration with Verizon Wireless' LTE Innovation Center. The LTE Innovation Center, established in 2008, provides an environment for diverse companies to work together to develop innovative products that leverage 4G LTE technology.

OnStar's Buick LaCrosse research vehicle will be highlighted from Jan. 6 – 9 in the Verizon Wireless booth at CES (#35216 in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center).
OnStar collaborated with many companies on this research project, including Skype (www.skype.net), TrafficLand (www.trafficland.com), and 4Home (www.4home.com). For more information about OnStar, visit www.onstar.com.

For more information about the LTE Innovation Center and Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE network, visit www.verizonwireless.com/lte. For more information about Verizon Wireless at CES, visit www.verizonwireless.com/ces or follow up on Twitter at www.twitter.com/verizonwireless.

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OnStar partners with Verizon to bring LTE 4G to your rear view (video)