- The Washington Times - Friday, August 1, 2008

While driving have you ever wished you could also see the same kind of weather information you can get with just a click of a mouse on your home computer?

Theoretically you can with a laptop that has the right hardware and software to connect to a cellular-based wireless network. But who wants to haul along a laptop that can’t be operated safely by the driver? Thanks to XM Radio, there is a better way to find out what kind of weather you’re driving into.

XM Satellite Radio is offering XM NavWeather, the first nationwide in-vehicle, real-time satellite weather tracking service for automotive GPS navigation systems. This revolutionary combination of GPS navigation, and real-time weather information is available on the ‘09 Acura RL and TSX and will soon be offered on the all-new TL.

XM NavWeather works as part of the Acura Navigation system to display weather conditions via color weather icons or easy-to-read detailed graphical warning signals on the vehicle’s navigation screen. It uses sophisticated XM “Threat Matrix” technology to track detailed nationwide weather data, which is then scaled and customized for the driver’s specific location and route.

The service can alert drivers to severe weather conditions on their exact route before they drive into them, giving the driver the opportunity to route around a storm’s path or find a safe haven to ride out the storm. It not only informs the driver of current and forecasted weather and hazardous road conditions, but also atmospheric conditions such as rain, sleet, snow, wind, fog, precipitation intensity, and National Weather Service warnings. One-day and 3-day city weather forecasts are also provided.

“XM NavWeather is the only service that uses predictive technology to track threats and let drivers know about severe weather and road conditions before they happen,” said Steve Cook, executive vice president, Automotive XM Satellite Radio.

No longer do you have to imagine what’s happening ahead of you. NavWeather is weather you can actually watch. You are able to see storm formations right on your Nav screen as radar imaging. Weather forecasts for the next 3 and 6 hours in a given area are available any time.

XM NavWeather was developed by Baron Services, the same technology team that helped create XM WX Satellite Weather, a similar service that is already in use today to provide professional weather service to pilots and mariners.

NavWeather follows on the heels of another high-tech XM innovation called XM NavTraffic. First available on most 2005 Acura models, NavTraffic is the leading real-time traffic information service, combining up-to-the-minute information on accidents and incidents. New for 2009 is Traffic Rerouting, which can suggest alternative routes based on real-time traffic conditions. XM NavTraffic makes it possible for drivers in 80 markets to access critical and customized information such as traffic congestion, accidents, incidents, road construction, average speed and estimated driving time.

NavTraffic offers real-time traffic conditions, based on data provided by Navteq Corp. Navteq pieces its information together from sources including police and fire officials, commercial traffic providers and highway sensors.

It’s delivered by XM’s network via satellite to the display on your screen. It is an accurate and reliable way to get the very latest information on conditions on the roads. A typical map shows traffic flow on monitored roads as green for 40 mph or faster, red 20 mph or slower and yellow in between. The information is updated approximately every 90 seconds.

XM NavTraffic is available on a number of new vehicles from Acura, Chevrolet, Lexus, Infiniti, Nissan and Cadillac. XM’s automotive partners recognize the time and fuel saving capabilities of the service, and are rapidly expanding XM NavTraffic availability into more than 40 vehicles in the 2009 vehicle model year.

To add XM NavTraffic or NavWeather to your current vehicle, there are many aftermarket navigation systems featuring these services from Garmin, Pioneer, Alpine and others. The monthly cost of XM radio is $12.95. XM radio plus XM NavWeather costs $16.94 and if you want XM radio, XM NavTraffic and XM NavWeather it will cost $19.95 per month. NavTraffic and NavWeather are available separately for $9.95 each.

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