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Transportation The Internet

Chrysler To Offer Wireless Internet In 2009 Models 258

Posted by samzenpus
sunny in Seattle writes "'Have you ever thought rush hour on the 405 Freeway might be more bearable if you could check your e-mail, shop for a book on Amazon, place some bids on EBay and maybe even, if nobody is looking, download a little porn? Then perhaps you should be driving a Chrysler.' LA Times reports that the nation's third-largest automaker is set to announce Thursday that it's making wireless Internet an option on all its 2009 models. The mobile hotspot, called UConnect Web, would be the first such technology from any automaker."
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Chrysler To Offer Wireless Internet In 2009 Models

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  • wardriving (Score:5, Funny)

    by pwnies (1034518) * <j@jjcm.org> on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:11PM (#23942533) Homepage Journal
    Kind of defeats the point of wardriving though doesn't it.
  • Tag (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:13PM (#23942561)
    If ever there was a time for the "whatcouldpossiblegowrong" tag, this is it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cayenne8 (626475)
      "and maybe even, if nobody is looking, download a little porn? "

      Well, I dunno about other places....but, in New Orleans, maybe LA in general, don't get caught watching porn in the car where it can be seen by others outside your vehicle, or you'll get busted. They put that law into effect a few years back.

      • Re:Tag (Score:5, Funny)

        by clem (5683) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:36PM (#23942871) Homepage

        Because that was the number one problem plaguing the good people of New Orleans?

        • Re:Tag (Score:4, Funny)

          by compro01 (777531) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:41PM (#23942931)

          Appearently. Porn is dangerous stuff.~

    • For the last couple of years, it's been illegal to use a computer or video system in the front seat of your car except for navigation. So you can have a GPS display or a camera showing the curb as you're backing up, but DVD players are illegal.

      I think the rules are draconian enough that even your front-seat passenger can't be using a laptop, though there are loopholes for devices physically mounted to the car (e.g. police-car laptop holders.)

      Having them in the back seat for your kids to watch is just fine

  • streaming music! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by doranb (88867) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:14PM (#23942569) Homepage

    I don't know about shopping on Amazon, but oh how I'd love to listen to somaFM, WOXY, or Beyond the Beat Generation while I'm driving. Cuz the music broadcasters in LA choose is the suxors.

    • KCRW is the answer. And at certain times KPFK has some great music shows as well. And KXLU is hit or miss....
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AKAImBatman (238306)

      The first thing I thought of wasn't music, though that's a very good point. I was thinking "in-car speakerphone" and "Skype". But maybe I'm just weird that way.

      (And apparently quite goofy, considering I barely talk on my cell phone. Especially when in the car.) :-P

    • by Yold (473518)

      Rip it to your Ipod. StreamRipperX does it on MacOS, i know there is a windows equivalent as well.

  • by Aussenseiter (1241842) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:15PM (#23942581)
    "Recent studies show that tailgating has increased over 170% near certain Chrysler vehicles."
  • I've dealt with i-405 and I know I'd prefer to hang out in my car with a Wifi connection and wait two hours until the traffic dies down.

    On the other, people who honestly think they can READ E-MAIL on the road are nuts. Even when the average speed is below 15mph, you're just asking for a fender bender.

    So my feelings are mixed. I would enjoy a car with his gear onboard rather than a mickeymouse laptop solution, but most of the world are idiots.

    • by homer_ca (144738)

      The Ford Sync (based on Windows CE) can connect to a bluetooth phone and read text messages with text-to-speech. You can even dictate outgoing messages with voice recognition. I have no idea how well it works.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      people who honestly think they can READ E-MAIL on the road are nuts.
      So you probably would frown on my playing Team Fortress 2 while driving South on the Kennedy.

      I mean, the traffic gets pretty bad here in Chicago during the summer, and you spend a fair amount of time just sitting, grinding your teeth. At least this way, I'd be working on my Pyro stats.

    • So my feelings are mixed.

      Mine aren't. I'm buying/building a jammer, illegal or not. I'd rather not have J. Random Asshat trying to read his email or check his eBay auction at 60mph next to me. Cellphones are already too bad. I'll turn his stuff off.

      and J. Random will do that. I saw a girl the other day...weaving a little bit...on her Sidekick thing, texting with both thumbs, steering with her knees. The road ahead was prob 1/4 of her concentration.
      Hang up and drive, you stupid coont.
      • by deraj123 (1225722) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @10:21PM (#23944287)

        I'm buying/building a jammer, illegal or not. I'd rather not have J. Random Asshat trying to read his email or check his eBay auction at 60mph next to me. Cellphones are already too bad. I'll turn his stuff off.
        So...you'd rather have J. Random Asshat trying to troubleshoot why his connection isn't working at 60mph next to you?
        • Troubleshooting wouldn't be a whole lot different.
          And hopefully, he'll give up after a few seconds, instead of continuing to drive and surf and be distracted.

          In any case, s/he will be blocked. There is nothing in general web browsing/email that supersedes operating a car.
          Nothing.
          (personally, I'd include cellphone conversations and texting in that)
  • by pwnies (1034518) * <j@jjcm.org> on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:15PM (#23942595) Homepage Journal
    ...when they all start checking their myspace while attempting to change lanes.

    Do they really think this is a good idea?
    • by Gyga (873992) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:23PM (#23942689)
      I know a girl who checks myspace, facebook, email, and various other things and also IMs while driving. She is scary.
    • Actually, this provides a great opportunity in interface design. Computers have had a very little foot print on the inside of a car, outside of GPS. Equipping a car with the ability to access the internet opens up a whole new sector for specialized computer electronics. The real key will be designing an interface that is easy to use from behind the wheel. I wonder if Microsoft Sync will begin to take advantage of this?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by NothingMore (943591)
      Myspace?? What your really should fear is all the WoW raids that will now take place on the freeway....
  • by 2cute2kill (842451) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:16PM (#23942601)
    Considering the amount of shaving, texting, make-up applying, eating, and calling that already goes on in vehicles during rush hour, I'm not sure this feature should even be legal.
    • by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:19PM (#23942637)

      Considering the amount of shaving, texting, make-up applying, eating, and calling that already goes on in vehicles during rush hour, I'm not sure this feature should even be legal.

      Considering the amount of shaving, texting, make-up applying, eating, and calling that already goes on in vehicles during rush hour, I'm not sure anyone will notice the additional impact of this feature.

      • by mazarin5 (309432) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:26PM (#23942739) Journal

        I'm not sure anyone will notice the additional impact of this feature.
        No pun intended, right?
      • by Xyrus (755017)

        Unless that impact happens to be up your ass. I'm pretty sure you'd notice that.

        ~X~

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by clarkkent09 (1104833)
      Shaving in the car while commuting? Hmm, great idea, that should save me some time in the morning. Thanks!
    • by Godji (957148)
      OK, I have certainly seem most of these thing, but shaving?! Are you serious?
      • by homer_ca (144738)

        Bah, that's easy with an electric razor. Let's see someone try it with shaving cream and a Bic.

        • Bah - a shaving brush and mug with the shaving soap that you add hot water to and lather up is far nicer than shaving cream. You can get one of those cigarette-lighter-powered coffee-pot heaters to heat the water for your shaving mug.

          And while I might be approaching old-geezer-ness, it *was* a retro way to shave back when I started using it, and I never went as hard-core as using a straight razor, which would be a *really* bad thing to do in a car :-) I do actually use a razor occasionally to trim my bea

    • by cavis (1283146) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @08:15PM (#23943287)
      As a fireman, I responded to a car wreck a few years ago where a young woman was putting on makeup while driving (she did every morning), and she was late for work. She failed to make a turn, flipped the car, and left a husband and two young kids behind.

      I agree with 2cute2kill - Do we really need to create yet another distraction in the car? Putting on makeup only takes a certain amount of time, yet you could drive and surf the web at the same time from LA to NYC (assuming coverage) with no restrictions.

      A very bad idea.
      • by Firethorn (177587)

        A very bad idea.

        A very bad idea that's quite possible already.

        All you need is a computer with a cellular nic. Offering wireless in the car(presumably tied in through the onstar system), the most likely effect is simply to increase signal strength and therefore bandwidth.

        If it's like onstar, then the rates for the service are going to be high enough(at least initially) that 99% of people won't take it. Why? The cellular NIC plan would be much cheaper, and available everywhere, not just in the car.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          The point folks seem to be missing is that this is just a toy to help sell new cars. Seriously, I drive a 15 year old car that I give regular maintenance (not repairs) and has less than 150,000 miles on it. According to my mechanic, it should go another 100,000 easy. Given that it looks nearly exactly like the newer cars (curvy and bubble like), has side impact beams, air bags, all wheel drive and the like why would I buy something new? Especially when a new care in the same class would cost half a year
  • Why have an accident while talking on your your cellphone at the wheel, when you could be enjoying an accident while watching porn on the web?

    Oh, the advances in vehicle technology will never cease to amaze me...!

    That being said, I'm still waiting for my affordable, highway-ready electric car.

  • by pwnies (1034518) * <j@jjcm.org> on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:21PM (#23942675) Homepage Journal
    This will give new meaning to, "My internet connection crashed"
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by GroeFaZ (850443)
      This story will give new meaning to "regurgitate worn jokes and cliches"

      Cry "cheetos!" and let slip the car analogies of slashdot.

      Here are a few pointers:

      War driving.
      Beowulf cluster
      Hot grits, applied to a statue of Natalie Portman, naked and petrified.
      bot nets (don't forget to take a jab at Microsoft)
      Thankfully, you've got crashes covered.
      Information super highway
      Tubes and trucks
      0x3A28213A
      0x6339392C
      0x7363682E
  • synchronicity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:26PM (#23942731) Journal

    ...that this article would appear just after "Children Concerned by Parents' Web Habits"...

    Were I a kid in the back seat, I'd be terrified.

  • by taustin (171655)

    The mobile hotspot, called UConnect Web, would be the first such technology from any automaker."

    That would be because it's a bad idea and other automakesare aren't as stupid.

  • It's typical recently of American automakers to offer this kind of gimmicks instead of making decent quality cars. What's next, a built in coffee maker and a toaster oven so you can make your commute even more suicidal
    • by roc97007 (608802)
      I vote "making your commute even more suicidal" as the phrase of the day.
    • by value_added (719364) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @08:18PM (#23943325)

      It's typical recently of American automakers to offer this kind of gimmicks instead of making decent quality cars.

      I'm not sure it's a gimmick, but to the extent it is, I'm sure that Chryser will, in typical American automaker fashion, implement it badly.

      That means owners will get probably end up with a square woodgrained plastic panel insert emblazoned with a metal "The Intarweb" logo (in a cursive script and painted to resemble chrome), that contains a few oversized cheap-ass rocker switches, only the one of which can be reached without leaning far out of your seat, and possibly some light indicators that glow too brightly at night. Luxury model owners can opt for a foot pedal switch, an extra steering column lever, or an in-dash touch screen that displays garishly coloured pie charts, columnar graphs that update every second.

      In similarly typical fashion, the rest us will have to sit back and wonder why they just didn't buy a Honda.

  • "No officer, I'm not stealing WiFi while sitting in my car with my pants off [wizbangblog.com]. I just bought a Chrysler."

    Given that the idiot in Toronto was half naked in public and surfing kiddie porn yet got arrested for the stealing WiFi, this should be a perfectly watertight defense.

    You may notice: I am not a lawyer.

  • by pudding7 (584715) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:30PM (#23942795)

    That's why I ride a motorcycle. You can sit there in traffic for two hours surfing and shopping and viewing porn all you want. I'll be at home.

    Of course, as soon as I get there I'll just be web surfing, shopping, and viewing porn. But at least I'll be at home.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:32PM (#23942819)

    I know what brand of car I'll be tailgating from now on, laptop in hand! I can just see one now, struggling to get over to its exit with a knot of fifteen or so Priuses clustered too close to let it move.

    Or instead of tailgating, perhaps I'll try to anticipate where the driver is going and maintain a short lead with my Pringles Can exhaust mod pointed square at it.

  • Have you ever thought rush hour on the 405 Freeway might be more bearable if you could check your e-mail, shop for a book on Amazon, place some bids on EBay and maybe even, if nobody is looking, download a little porn?

    If so, then you should be taking public transportation, because obviously you'd never be able to pay attention to your driving with something like this in your car.

    I'll echo another reply...the reason Chrysler is the first with this is because everyone else has already decided its a bad idea.

    • Public transportation? The 405's in LA, and isn't in the direction that most of the public transportation goes :-)

      I worked on a gig down there back in the late 80s. The distance from the 101 / 405 intersection to LAX is 18 miles, which is six times the distance across Manhattan. I'd rather drive six times across Manhattan at just about any time of day, because it's faster... Maybe things have improved since then, but I doubt it. You're going to be bumper-to-bumper at a long slow crawl, might as well do

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:34PM (#23942839) Journal

    ...if even geeks think it's stupid...

  • by GroeFaZ (850443) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:35PM (#23942851)
    1. Check www.darwinawards.com while driving
    2. Drive off a 100m bridge
    3. Irony!!
  • Missing the point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cryfreedomlove (929828) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:35PM (#23942863)
    Most of the posts I've seen here are short sighted because they only consider drivers doing what would normally be done at home in front of a computer.

    Having a reliable internet connection will enable applications that we have not dreamed of yet but someone will. I'd like VOIP, using the car's built in microphone and speaker. How about a GPS system uses the IP connection to warn of upcoming traffic jams on the proposed route? How about setting the thermostat in your house when you are 30 miles away?

    Come on people! Dream big!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ForestGrump (644805)

      These have already been implemented.

      1. You can buy cars with integrated microphones and bluetooth. Just call through the cell phone. GM offers Onstar, which is like that but instead uses their network (and you get charged extra for the calls)

      2. GPS systems can already get realtime traffic from satellite services such as XM and Sirius. There is also traffic information broadcast in FM freqs.

      3. Call your kids and have them do it. That's what they are for.

      • You can buy cars with integrated microphones and bluetooth. Just call through the cell phone. GM offers Onstar, which is like that but instead uses their network (and you get charged extra for the calls)

        Okay, I may not be up on my latest hep new phone stuff. Heck, I still have a landline.

        But isn't one of the theories behind things like VOIP is that calls can forward around easier. So I have one phone number and it doesn't matter if I'm in my car or at home? I don't need a separate phone and number for each?

        Besides cheap phone calls, isn't that supposed to be one of the cool things about VOIP? Or have I missed something?

        GPS systems can already get realtime traffic from satellite services such as XM and Sirius. There is also traffic information broadcast in FM freqs.

        I think the XM/Sirius ones require a subscription. Don't know about the FM ones.

        A

    • by Repton (60818)
      Come on people! Dream big!

      Mesh network highway chatrooms!

    • by GroeFaZ (850443)
      How about setting the thermostat in your house when you are 30 miles away?

      Come on people! Dream big!


      I'll let that stand on its own.
    • Agree.

      How about simply having a wireless connection available even when away from home or a local base-station? That alone would make this extremely useful.

      Or, how about being a passenger? On a long trip it would be fantastic to be able to kill time surfing the web.

      Everyone is assuming this means you have to use said connection whilst actually driving the vehicle. But the uses when not driving (either as a passenger or when the vehicle is stopped) are many and obvious.

    • by GaryOlson (737642)
      While shadowing a Chrysler (or better yet a cluster of Chryslers), launch a broad spectrum attack against fbi.gov. Measure response time and methodology.
  • What about all the latest brow beating that has been going on with "Distracted Driving" laws. Wouldn't this just give the police (who use cell phones, 2-way radios and laptops) another unwarranted reason to pull you over and ticket you for revenue generation purposes? All I want is to make it from point A - B. We already have enough things taking away our attention from the road as it is.

  • Now they have another reason to sieze your car crossing the border, or when you get a ticket.

    "License, registration, hard drive and peripherals, and plug this into that jack there please?!"

    Not to mention tracking, its WiFi, blip*blip*blip... hidden cameras, or just tapping into the onboard ones, and rear-view cameras...

    Conpiracy, blah blah... but i'll be expecting those headlines...

    • by afidel (530433)
      How about the owner uses those same features, have a hidden camera with motion detection. If you don't hit a hidden switch in 30 seconds it sends a video clip over the cellular connection to a site of your choice. I already have friends that do this for home security systems so extending it to the car is fairly obvious.
  • Lovely. Some jackass is going to wreck my car because he's trying to read an e-mail from his boss telling him if he wrecks the company car again, he's going to get fired.

    And the spam will be 'way too predictable..."Make her scream loud as you split her tail open with your huge, supercharged V-8!"

  • by recharged95 (782975) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:46PM (#23942987) Journal

    Wireless in a car should be more for infrastructure robustness than end user applications. More applications in a car that require user interaction (i.e. REST apps) is a recipe for disaster.

    Then again, VOIP would be a killer app in a car.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Especially if you could call that jerk wad that just cut you off!

      I developed a tool that cross referenced License plates with phone numbers in the 90s.
      Had a working set up and everything. Then I couldn't stave off the thoughts of certain inevitability. So I shelve it. A few years later California stopped making that information public.

      If I could ahve put those thoughts off I could have been rich.

    • by Torvaun (1040898)

      I think you need to pick a term other than "killer app".

  • by pembo13 (770295) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @07:46PM (#23942993) Homepage
    Because if someone crashes into me, I would like to subpoena their cell phone and auto-internet records to see if they were doing something else instead of driving.
    • by Belial6 (794905)
      We can talk about that after we can get their radio records, and voice recordings of any conversations that take place in the car...
  • It's 3g based so what is the subscription rate? $30 a month? $70 a month? with a 2 year plan?

  • ...use VoIP instead. Much safer.

  • I definitely agree that having Wi-Fi in your car is definitely a bad idea. However, I can think of legitimately positive use for it - your GPS can use it got get download new maps whenver it needs to when you go to a new area that you haven't already gotten maps for (like when I occasionally have to drive down to Salem, for example).
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Is your opinion definite?
      I can think of lots of uses for it, most of which would be for the passengers.

      • by AceCaseOR (594637)
        Nah, it's not definite. Actually, after made my post, the usefulness of the WiFi for passengers came to mind as well.
  • by glittalogik (837604) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @08:28PM (#23943417)

    Isn't it obvious? This feature isn't for the driver to distract themselves, it's for your moms to lure you out of their basements and keep you distracted while they drive you to the countryside, boot you out of the car at the edge of the woods, and leave you to your own devices in a cloud of exhaust and smoking rubber. Your final Twitter message will be "Mom? Mom? I fell out, Wh&*(%#@*&($ ###NO CARRIER"

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya ... m minus math_god> on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @08:31PM (#23943445) Homepage Journal

    I always thought putting wi-fi and repeaters in cars would be a great way to instigate a wi-fi mesh.

    You could also use it as an 'Autonet' where cars could communicate information, and someone in car a in Tarzana, could communicate with car b i Huntington beach, and it never hit that internet. . . so to speak.

  • We will get an internet connection except for what people really want in a car.
    In no particular order (usually based on personal preference)
    Performance
    Reliability
    Gas milage
    Style

    And people wonder why Toyota sells more cars then the American models.

  • by Zombie (8332) on Wednesday June 25, 2008 @09:36PM (#23943967) Homepage

    Sen. Joe Simitian [...] introduced legislation prohibiting drivers from using any "mobile service device" [...] while driving.

    I guess that description would include GPS navigation devices and the car radio ?

    • Sen. Joe Simitian [...] introduced legislation prohibiting drivers from using any "mobile service device" [...] while driving.


      I guess that description would include GPS navigation devices and the car radio ?

      No, its more anti-competitive than that. it bans XM/Sirius while leaving the car radio alone because XM/Sirius is an actively purchased "service" while the car radio is merely a broadcast receiver.

  • So will the FTC be heavily regulating them until a competitor (or preferrably 5) emerges?

    from what I'm seeing this will be just like on-star, except you're paying for a general service which has nothing to do with the automobiles they're selling.

    Chrysler is tying a single mobile broadband carrier to their brand name.

  • People on cell phones already swerve into my lane too often.

    I can't wait to see how much they swerve when they're watching porn.

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