PTC to be test site for high tech automotive mobile devices project


Peachtree City will be the test site for a special wireless network to link in-car information/entertainment systems with “emerging mobile devices” according to an announcement from Panasonic Automotive Systems, which is located in the city’s industrial park.

Panasonic has joined with AT&T, which will provide the network services for the initiative, according to a press release. The result will make Peachtree City “a connected model city, fully open to automotive manufacturers, technology providers and others … to provide the framework to help drive innovation for the connected in-vehicle lifestyle.”

It is not known if the initiative will be exclusive to certain mobile devices such as specific brands of cellphones or tablet computers. Also unknown is whether citizens will have a chance to participate in the initiative, or if it will be limited to the companies’ collective efforts.

The initiative is sure to draw attention to Peachtree City, though. The project has already been publicized on the popular tech website Engadget, and city officials are surely going to look towards using the opportunity to attract more high-tech businesses to the city.

The project is also sure to help Panasonic Automotive Systems, which underwent a downsizing several years ago when the company moved production lines to a plant in Mexico.

“As today’s drivers spend increasing amounts of time on the road, they continue to seek vehicles that complement their ‘always-on’, hyper-mobile lifestyles,” said Steve Deguchi, President of Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America. “Automakers that successfully make vehicles that deliver smart, personalized services to drivers on demand have a tremendous opportunity to stand out from the competition. The most appealing vehicles will be those that serve as yet another node in a driver’s existing network of devices.”

The partnership has an upside for AT&T too.

“There are incredible wireless opportunities in the automotive space and we’ve only scratched the surface,” said Glenn Lurie, President of emerging devices, resale and partnerships, AT&T. “We continue to explore ways to develop a safer connected ecosystem for emerging devices.”

Panasonic Automotive Systems of America has developed and produced premium audio systems for auto manufacturers, and in recent years has focused on other auto technology efforts including a partnership with Chrysler to integrate a Garmin GPS/computer system that provides driver information along with satellite radio, movie listings, sports, weather and traffic content.