Just getting there is half the fun.
Driving in an unfamiliar area alone means juggling the steering wheel and a road map, while peering out the window for road signs--a real recipe for disaster. Those days may soon be over, as more and more cars are equipped with Clarion Corp.'s Auto PC running Microsoft's Windows CE 2.0.
The Auto PC is an in-dash CD drive and AM/FM stereo that gives drivers directions to a chosen destination through interactive speech technology and a graphical display. It uses mapping data from a CD-ROM to plan a detailed, accurate route; it can even plan an alternate route at the driver's request. Optional features of Auto PC include global positioning system technology and a cellular phone connection that allows the driver to get up-to-the-minute traffic reports, e-mail messages, news and other important information that can be read to the driver by Auto PC's voice synthesis.
The Windows CE platform allows information such as addresses to be transferred from handheld PCs and other devices using CE to the Auto PC via an infrared port.
Retailing for $1,299, Auto PC will be offered as an aftermarket product beginning this June but will probably not be available as a factory-installed option until 2000.
Clarion Corp., http://www.clarionmultimedia.com, (800) 347-8667