Vehicles to have Internet access as standard?

According to top bosses in the motor industry, in-vehicle Internet access is coming close to reality.

According to a recent survey by KPMG, Internet access within motor vehicles is rapidly becoming a feasible concept.

Internet access is predicted to become a standard feature as more global motor developers invest in communicative technology. The survey revealed that 63% of automotive executives expect to see more technological development and a closer link between car and telecommunications industries in the future.

Likely trends predicted include WiFi access, 3G, and speech recognition for browser access and searches.

37% of the 200 car executives surveyed believe that "infotainment" services, such as access to online services, will become as important a facet as car safety to consumer product choices in the future. Car manufacturers are expected to join forces with the music, IT and telecommunications industry to implement new in-built technology, the research predicting a third of car companies intend to collaborate.

According to John Leech, the Head of Automative, KPMG: "The connected car concept is well and truly here."

Some car manufacturer have already begun investing in "infotainment" systems. Toyota and Intel agreed last year to begin collaborating on in-built technology to offer these kinds of services. Toyota is currently developing its 'Entune' system, which uses smartphone data to power applications, including Pandora.

Over the next five years, we can expect to see in-built gadgets provided by technology giants such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Considering Google's investment in robot-controlled vehicles, this doesn't seem like a unlikely concept.

"Intel claims that the connected car is the third-fastest growing technological device, following smartphones and tablets. For a car maker that offers huge potential," Leech stated.

Car manufacturer Audi has released some of this technology already. Audi's built-in 3G wireless in its A7 model will be extending to other makes in the next few years.

However, does anyone else think that this is a peculiar development considering the continual bans on any type of distraction whilst in vehicles, including smoking and mobile phone use? "Infotainment" features might become the next bit of 'bling' on your car, but how long will it be before these kinds of facilities are banned from use? I cannot see drivers using this technology often while a car is stationary.

It may be worth the extra cost to be able to surf the Internet if you're forced to wait in your car for someone, but we already have mobile devices for that. Will governments permit the use of speech recognition, for example, as it is arguably just as distracting as using a mobile phone, since your attention is elsewhere?


Photo credit: Flickr

This post was originally published on