Internet on the road

I’m probably going to be mocked by some friends of mine who are more tech-savvy than me, but I was astounded to discover that Ford is planning to include WiFi Internet access in some of its vehicles in the near future.

Apparently this is nothing new… it turns out Japanese drivers have been using Internet service through their cars since 1997. General Motors offers Chevrolet Wi-Fi by Autonet Mobile service. BWM has an Internet-connected iDrive system, and Chrysler has a Uconnect Web in-vehicle mobile hotspot service.

I had no idea any of this was available. Sure, many of us use our smartphones like iPhones and Blackberrys to wirelessly connect to the Internet, and there are mobile access cards that anyone can put into a laptop (for a monthly service fee, naturally) but I hadn’t given any thought at all to using your vehicle as a mobile hot-spot for wireless Internet access on laptops, cellphones, PDAs, etc.

And yet, it makes perfect sense that our technology-hungry culture, becoming increasingly more interconnected each day, would demand this convenience and be willing to pay for it. Lots of people spend an hour or more each day in their cars, so having convenient access to the Internet would seem to be a no-brainer.

Now let’s just hope that these states cracking down on txting while driving will also work to prevent people from updating their Facebook status or watching YouTube while behind the wheel, whether on a smartphone or using a vehicular hotspot.

And let’s hope I can resist the temptation to shell out big bucks for the convenience myself.

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