On the heels of the National Transportation Safety Board recommending all states ban use of mobile devices while operating a vehicle, OnStar seems to be going in the opposite direction, demonstrating new "infotainment" capabilities in its 2012 research car.
According to Motor Authority, OnStar will demonstrate technology that could allow for video chat and 4G streaming in cars at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Motor Authority reports that these features would only be functional when the car was in park and possibly only limited to the back seat:
OnStar said the system will offer such features as cloud-based streaming of information and entertainment, rear-seat infotainment management and video chat.
While it doesn't get into the specific configuration, the pictures make it appear as though the car itself is equipped with a 4G modem that provides Internet connectivity and services throughout. In the rear, we see two tablet computers that look hardwired directly to the car
Motor Authority reports that OnStar showed off some of its 4G capabilities last year and is set to reveal the latest technology this year in a Chevy Volt.
Since this is still a research vehicle, it is unclear what sort of Internet tracking or other monitoring OnStar will partake in should the technology make it into commercial vehicles. In the past, OnStar has been criticized for violating user privacy. This year, we reported that OnStar tracked information from vehicles even with owners had discontinued their service. The company later announced it would stop doing this after backlash.