Just the other day I was pondering whether there would be any benefit to including 3G mobile broadband connectivity into cars. Then today I log onto the Internet and do the usual rounds, before I stumble across an interesting article telling me that Audi have joined up with Qualcomm and done this very thing. The navigation system in the new Audi A8’s will now include 3G capability in which a driver just shoves in a connected sim card and it opens him up to a whole host of features previously unheard of in motor cars.
Ok so you’re not going to sit browsing the net whilst in the driver seat, that would be more dangerous than using your phone, but the features are somewhat impressive. For example, when you pass a landmark or spot an interesting building, or a historical venue, the navigation system will give the driver the simple option of pulling information from sources such as Wikipedia regarding that spot. Great eh?
Also, your navigation system will allow you to receive real time traffic updates over the web as well as give you access to Google Earth so you can browse the globe in high resolution digital images. You also have access to Google Maps in case you lose your way and you’re without your battered old A-Z, or even better you could use Google Street View to find your way exactly.
When I said that you would not be able to browse the web whilst driving, I really did only mean the driver. The rest of the passengers can use the system as a Wi-Fi hotspot so they can enjoy the full world wide web from their laptop, iPod Touch or any other previously unable device without 3G connectivity.
It really does exceed anything a simple Sat-Nav system could fathom before. Perhaps they will offer downloadable content for your system such as applications or replacements for the annoying voices that come as standard. Also, if you’re putting your SIM card into the machine, that leaves you with no phone unless you have a couple. So I’m guessing you’ll be able to make phone calls via the system as well. I would have thought so anyway.
This might seem like an expensive luxury right now, but as it becomes cheaper and more widely available, will this be the future of motoring for all? Perhaps the idea of your car being a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot will be something more desirable when we see the rollout of 4G Mobile Broadband network like O2 are currently testing, as the current 3G networks are already struggling to cope with the demand for mobile internet access from smartphones such as the iPhone.
The cars will be available later this year according to Audi, so we will all have to wait and see whether the idea catches on, but it certainly is very intriguing. The Audi A8 are extremely exclusive cars, so I do presume the technology is at this point quite expensive to implement, but will no doubt form part of the hi-tech cars of tomorrow.
Via – CNET UK