SIRIUS is about to change all that, however, with the release of their SIRIUS Travel Link service. Travel Link is a driver information network that will provide subscribers with access to up to the minute updates on sports, traffic and even local and national entertainment services.
While both satellite companies have experimented with offering traffic and weather information for specific cities, as well as emergency notifications, SIRIUS is seriously upping the ante by introducing a coast-to-coast targeted data system accessible to the driver through an 8 inch touch screen.
Traffic and weather information will blanket the entire US, meaning that motorists will never be again be surprised by inclement weather or nasty traffic conditions on a long journey.
Fuel prices for over 120,000 service stations will also be accessible through the system, making it easier to plan pit stops, and to avoid the price gouging so often typical of Interstate gas bars.
Local movie listings from 4,500 theatres will provide in depth feature information such as ratings, scheduling, theater addresses and running times.
Finally, the whole family will be able to configure the Travel Link to provide them with instant updates from their favorite sports teams ranging from the NHL to NASCAR.
The first vehicle to offer the SIRIUS Travel Link will be the 2009 Lincoln MKS, where it will be incorporated into the vehicle’s navigation system.
Ford eventually plans to deploy the system across most of their vehicle lineup. Each vehicle sold with this device will also come with a 6 month introductory subscription.
Does the Travel Link mark the beginning of an information-rich driving environment that will keep us all more entertained on the road, as well as more cognizant of the possible dangers presented by traffic and weather?
Or is it merely another gadget to distract us from the task at hand, and will we see legislation introduced to curb the use of this type of mini car-computer, similar to the current situation with cell phones?
The jury is out on how this device will impact driver behavior.