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In-Car Entertainment Can Soothe Passengers

Imagine turning "Are we there yet?" into "We're there already?" A growing number of families are doing just that by adding rear-seat entertainment technologies and other conveniences to their vehicles in time for the summer vacation season. In spite of the increased cost of fuel, Americans are expected to hit the road in record numbers this summer, just as they have in virtually every year since the late 1950s. In fact, estimated annual miles driven by consumers reached 1.7 billion in 2004, nearly three times the miles logged during the 1960s. Yet, in spite of the growing allure of distant theme parks, beaches and interactive museums, families still face the challenge of keeping kids happy while strapped into their seats. "A bored child can make any drive seem harder for everyone," said Mark Boyle, director of marketing, Aftermarket, for Visteon Corporation, manufacturer of a broad range of mobile electronics technologies for passenger vehicles.

"Making the driving experience more comfortable is an important goal for automakers, dealerships and consumer products manufacturers-and we're seeing the results in the form of truly innovative entertainment technologies." One of the most recent products-Visteon's Dockable Entertainment featuring Game Boy® Advance-marries the popularity of in-car movies with the 750-plus game titles available for Nintendo's wildly popular Game Boy® Advance platform. The system can be seamlessly integrated into the car's headliner, but also can be removed in a matter of seconds for use in another vehicle, outdoors or anywhere else. The system is offered with wireless game controllers and wireless headphones. Automotive industry studies have shown that video games rank among the most appealing in-vehicle entertainment options, along with movies and music.

Combining all three in a single platform (the Visteon system also plays MP3 files) demonstrates the lengths to which manufacturers are going to answer consumer demand for more relaxing road trips, according to Boyle.


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