It may seem like an extraneous idea, but both Subaru and Ford are connecting their vehicles to the Internet. The 2011 Subaru Outback will have a built-in Wi-Fi option. Ford test-drove an “automatic tweeting” vehicle codenamed AJ. The guess of vehicle makers is that consumer’s connected lifestyle will extend to their driving habits.
Subaru offers Wi-Fi
If you’re in the market for a 2011 Subaru Outback, then you will have the option for Wi-Fi connectivity. With 97 percent connectivity around the country, you’ll be able to connect anything within 150 feet of the car. Initially, the setup costs $499 for parts and $35 to activate. The one-year subscription to the service costs $29 per month. At first, the cost seems high. However, new apps on smartphones that allow calls via Wi-Fi combined with the high cost of unlimited data plans through cellular carriers means that it could actually save customers money.
A team from Ford test drove a 2011 Ford Fiesta code-named AJ in May. AJ the car automatically tweeted, using information from the car’s computers. Sample tweets included “time to put the headlights on.” Real-time traffic information and GPS data blends with Internet information and car data recorder to create the tweets. The team also test drove check-in functions with FourSquare. The Ford Fiesta will not include these features standard yet, but it is a possibility for 2012 models.
Are connected cars a good idea?
Though there is a lot of excitement and development of connected cars, some are wondering if it is a good idea. The possibility of car viruses combined with Internet connectivity is worrying. There are also privacy concerns with cars automatically broadcasting where they are and what their drivers are up to. Internet-connected cars, in the end, are one more tool that will likely end up being misused by some, abused by others and very useful to most.