VW of America has collaborated with Autonet Mobile, which will allow the owners of the Routan mini-van to have in-vehicle Internet service.
The uconnect web service is to be offered by approximately 600 dealers in the United States. This is the first Internet entertainment system available for VW vehicles. Laptops, iPhones, Windows Smartphones and other Wi-Fi enabled devices will work with the uconnect web service. Autonet Mobile runs over a nationwide 3G network that includes all of the U.S. and Canada.
Autonet Mobile will turn the Routan from just a seven-passenger mini-van into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. Monthly subscriptions will begin at $29 (USD) for 1GB of data and for $59 (USD); a 5GB data plan is available. The dealer is responsible for the installation of the router.
VW America Chief Operating Office Mark Barnes feels that the inclusion of the Wi-Fi router will provide a benefit to their customers and “enhance our digital customers’ lifestyle”.
I do have to wonder at the logic of using a Wi-Fi router as a selling point in vehicles. There are laws in place, which ban the use of handheld devices in vehicles in many areas already, and that list is growing. How tempting would be for a driver to have their Wi-Fi enabled device next to them and not use it? Could you honestly resist the temptation to not use your laptop or handheld while driving if you had always on Wi-Fi access while driving?