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12/29/2005
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XM Satellite Radio To Showcase 'Advanced Services'

A concept car featuring video, voice command, weather alerts, parking space locator, and other innovations will be on display at next week's Consumer Electronics Show.

SAN FRANCISCO — XM Satellite Radio plans to unveil the XM "Advanced Services Vehicle," a concept car featuring in-car video, voice command, weather alerts, parking space locator and other innovations at next week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the company said Thursday (Dec. 29).

The vehicle is a specially equipped 2006 Lexus LX 470 to be displayed at CES Jan. 5-8 in the Las Vegas Convention Center's North Hall, XM (Washington) said.

XM is battling Sirius Satellite Radio in the rapidly shaping consumer satellite radio market. To date, neither company has turned a profit, and both are fighting to gain an edge in programming and among automobile companies. Sirius said Thursday that it recently surpassed 3 million subscribers; XM has reportedly said it will have more than 6 million subscribers by the close of the year.

XM said the vehicle will showcase in-car video with XM's Partner, video compression chip provider On2 Technologies Inc., as well as other technologies, all of which can be delivered directly to the automobile by XM's network, which features three Boeing Satellite Systems satellites and about 1,000 ground repeaters — systems that re-broadcast the satellite signals at much higher power to enable them to penetrate concrete and metal — throughout the U.S. This is the same satellite delivery system that XM employs to broadcast its 160 channels, the company said.

XM and On2 plan to show new in-vehicle satellite video solutions for consumers that are designed to receive audio and video entertainment from XM. Video content can be either streamed live or stored for later playback. In addition to in-car video, the XM Advanced Services Vehicle will feature the Voice Command system developed with VoiceBox Technologies. The VoiceBox platform goes beyond typical voice recognition technologies and lets the driver use conversational speech to control the XM radio, XM said.

Plans call for The XM vehicle to also offer a demonstration of XM WeatherLink, a new concept that delivers advanced warning of weather-related driving conditions in real time, the company said, using technology already employed at sea and in aviation to alert drivers to weather conditions on the road ahead.

Another innovation found inside the XM Advanced Services Vehicle will help drivers locate parking spaces, XM said. In conjunction with partners Nu-Metrics Inc. and InfoGation, XM plans to demonstrate its "ParkingLink" capability concept, which works with the car's navigation system to find available parking spots. The system shows the actual number of spaces available at designated parking facilities on the vehicle navigation map, and uses color-keyed icons to indicate the percentage availability of each Facility, XM said.

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