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GM MAKES DRIVING
MORE LIKE WORK
New Features To Prevent Any Escape From The Pressures Of Work
Because driving doesn't take that much concentration, General Motors Corp. announced three new services to keep automobile drivers connected while commuting.

Later this year GM will offer "Personal Calling," a hands-free, voice-activated cell phone service, and "Virtual Advisor," which will read e-mails and other information from the Internet such as sports scores and stock quotes. Hardware for both services will be included on all GM cars and trucks with OnStar communications service.

On its 2001 Cadillac Seville and DeVille luxury sedans, GM is planning to offer a voice-controlled Infotainment System, which integrates a color screen navigation system with radio, CD-ROM, Internet e-mail access and voice memo recorder. As a safety feature, drivers will only be able to read e-mails while the car is in park. Otherwise, any information off the Internet will be read aloud by the computer, whose soothing voice will also sing "Daisy" to the driver as the system powers down.

"We're offering consumers multiple roads to the Internet, and an easier way to make cellular phone calls while driving," said Mark Hogan, president of e-GM, GM's Internet business unit.

"We think every GM vehicle deserves a dial tone," Hogan said. "I'm pretty sure it's in the Constitution." Hogan also announced plans for a joint GM/Starbucks venture that could then bring in-dash lattes and mochaccinos to all GM customers.

Prices for the three new services have not been finalized, but customers may be charged for the cell phone minutes they use for Personal Calling and Virtual Advisor with no additional monthly fee. The Infotainment Service may cost about the same as navigation system hardware, which costs about $2,000, GM officials said.

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