Do You Really Want Your Car To Be A Rolling WiFi Hotspot?

from the might-lead-to-some-other-problems dept

Apparently Chrysler is looking to turn your car into a rolling WiFi hotspot, allowing you to connect to the internet both for the sake of accessing information, but also for providing it (such as traffic info). Of course, automakers have talked about internet access in cars before, but it hasn't gone very far -- so unless you brought your own EVDO card, you weren't doing much. But is there really a strong demand for such things? As some analysts note, it seems like the automakers may be "leapfrogging the market," when they should be focused on making cars work better with the gadgets we already have. This is a problem that has come up before. Automakers love to build new technology into their cars in order to control the experience, but that's not what consumers want. Having an MP3 player is nice, but it's easier if you can just use your iPod. Having a built in GPS system is cool, but the new Garmin has a lot more features. Working with consumer electronics devices that people buy seems like it may be a lot more sensible than trying to recreate the wheel. And, then, of course putting WiFi connectivity in cars may eventually lead to xkcd-style scenarios:
Road Rage


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Michaelk, Jun 25th, 2008 @ 10:13pm

    Even worse

    Forget about XKCD (well, don't really); this is how the Cylons hack in and shut down all our cars, leaving us defenseless.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2008 @ 10:18pm

    Exploiting this technology was the first thing that came to my mind when I read this. Takes WarDriving to a new level, you can just see hackers shutting down peoples cars on the freeway... can't wait ^_^

     

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  3.  
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    Nish, Jun 25th, 2008 @ 10:18pm

    Some people don't want disconnected items.

    I personally would much rather have a GPS system and MP3 player integrated into my car then use my iPod or Garmin. The main reason is that there is less for me to think about. I don't have to hide my in-dash GPS system in the glove box. My built in MP3 player and GPS system can talk to each other. Maybe I'm the exception, but if I had to choose between integrated and external, I'd rather have the integrated solution (although I would much rather have the option of both).

     

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  4.  
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    Paul, Jun 25th, 2008 @ 10:55pm

    I dunno

    I don't think I'd mind having wireless access in my car on long trips (with other people). I could then use the internet on my laptop when I'm not the one driving. A good deal of smartphones have wi-fi access as well. If the passenger has wifi on the phone, they can use that instead of a data plan for the phone (though, that really depends on the data plan for your car i guess). Also, on a related, but separate note, I don't see the problem with integrated GPS systems. While after market may have more features, my GPS system controls everything in the car with a touch screen. Maybe it has less features, but its much more convenient, especially with built in voice controls for everything in the car as well (and all this available in a civic, not some luxury car). Sometimes if a mix between various technologies is done in a convenient way, its lack of features compared to a standalone product isn't always a dealbreaker. I'm guessing I'm the only one who thinks this because even Wired.com was saying not too long ago that integrated GPS is on its way out, so that's two relatively reputable sources that seem to think integrated GPS is on its way out. Maybe I'm crazy, I dunno.

     

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  5.  
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    Andrew, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 12:25am

    Haha, the cartoon strip is hilarious.

     

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  6.  
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    Jake, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 2:44am

    Nice idea, but using a laptop in a car is usually rather a lot like using one in an economy-class seat on an airliner, only with worse vibration.

     

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  7.  
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    Dr. David, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 4:49am

    Re: Jake

    You know that is why they have solid state hard drives, right?
    Back to the subject, Think of all the traffic jams I cou.... Someone could cause, tell everyone that freeway X is packed, and re-route them... :D

     

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  8.  
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    Paul, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 5:01am

    Re: Re: Jake

    I think he's referring to the vibrations effects on the user, not the hard drive...

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 5:38am

    Re:

    Im sure the Wifi connection will not be integrated into the cars VCM

     

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  10.  
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    syN-acK, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 6:18am

    Kinda Ironic

    "...when they should be focused on making cars work better with the gadgets we already have."
    Did I miss something or didn't you read the article?
    "Chrysler says any wireless device and 'all major gaming systems' will work with UConnect."
    Isn't that making the car work better with gadgets you already have?

    This article comes on the same day as one about newspapers criticizing technology. Sounds similar to me. "Why would anyone want a new fandangled integrated car when you just need a car to drive?"

    Cars WILL have connectivity in the future regardless and it makes sense that car manufacturers are looking on how to do that now. Security is always an issue with any new technology, but that is just a obstacle to overcome.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 6:27am

    Shut Up Will Ya!

    This will be great! Now I can finally shut off peoples stereos if they blast that filthy obscene music as they go into the store!

     

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  12.  
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    Jezsik, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 7:01am

    Why not drive the telecos insane?

    Hack-ability aside, if all new cars came equipped with WiFi, it would eventually lead to an enormous network that's beyond the control of the telecos. Furthermore, it could lead to REAL traffic shaping (of the automotive kind).

     

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  13.  
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    DigitalAngel, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 10:14am

    Re: Some people don't want disconnected items.

    I'm halfway with you. I like the integrated into the car, but as after market not from the manufacturer.

    My boyfriend had a hard drive system in his old car and it was a million times better than the iPod he has hooked up now in his new car.

     

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  14.  
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    CaptainCode, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 10:19am

    Waste of Resources

    The automotive industry needs to stop wasting time working with this new-fangled gadget or that, and focus on ECONOMY. Find ways to USE alternative fuel. Find way's to save their businesses, rather than let thousands of people go at a time, find ways to boost the American (and foreign of course) enconomies by taking the strain placed by $5.00 a gallon gasoline, an actually innovating something new and useful. But that is my opinion.

     

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  15.  
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    Spike, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 10:33am

    Well not quite...

    ""Having a built in GPS system is cool, but the new Garmin has a lot more features."

    In addition to the point above about having to stow the Garmin (what a pain when I had one), there is the charger cable, especially when it gets confused with the phone charger cable and the headset charger cable. But even more important, the Garmin takes far longer to find the satellites than a built-in unit; if you don't know which way to get on the freeway, you can be stuck sitting there for five minutes while it looks for its location.

    Built-in bluetooth is great also, no more fiddling with headsets and chargers. Now that it's required in California, it's far easier not to worry about what you've brought besides the phone, or digging it out of some pocket.

    On the other hand, a lot of the stuff they put in is stupid - how different is the temperature going to be from one side to the other in a compact car? And I'd rather have them invest in petroleum replacement technology than anything else.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2008 @ 11:09am

    A.T.M.O.S.
    You have reached your final destination.

     

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  17.  
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    Aaron, Jul 5th, 2008 @ 9:19pm

    STRONGLY disagree

    I have to strongly (but respectfully) disagree here. I see WiFi in cars a lot like the iPhone phenomenon. Just 2 years ago, how many consumers thought they needed a smartphone? Now that iPhone is out and everyone know swhat you can DO with it, the whole picture changes.

    The question of WiFi (and more importantly, EVDO) in cars is likewise a case of marketable functionality. Unfortunately, until a large number of cars have EVDO and WiFi, coorporations and developers will not have the incentive to build great auto applications. Without those great applications, we will have no consumer demand. You see, it is a catch 22. My prediction is that we will have to put the internet in cars before we see ANY consumer demand. My advice regarding EVDO and WiFi in cars: "If you build it, they will come."

     

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