Automotive Apocalypse? Chrysler Soon To Debut In-Car Wifi System, UConnect

James Raia

Chrysler has just announced a new highspeed wireless system call Uconnect. It will allow drivers to access the internet at stoplights while other passengers simultaneously utilize other high-speed internet features.

This may sound like innovation and it may catapult the car world into “hot spot” nirvana.

But to me it sounds like the automotive apocalypse. Do drivers need any more distractions?

A Chrysler spokesman commented “We see great potential for this.”

Potential for what? More absent-minded drivers? More head-on collisions? Increased road rage?

The dealer-installed system, officially called UConnect Web, will be an add-on to Chrysler’s UConnect information and entertainment systems.

The wireless router and cellular-based Web connection will serve Wi-Fi-enabled laptops, iPhone and other smartphones, entertainment systems and other personal devices.

UConnect Web will be offered in most 2009 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles starting in August. The in-vehicle router will cost $449, plus installation of up to $50. Mobile Web access for it will require a $29-a-month subscription, after $35 for activation, through provider Autonet Mobile.

Chrysler believes the system’s greatest benefit likely will be as back-seat video and game entertainment for kids. But adults will benefit as well, Chrysler executives say.

I say its biggest benefit may be it likely an economic boost . . . more ambulance drivers will have employment and increased emergency room staffs will be necessary. And they’ll be waiting lines at funeral homes.

Article Last Updated: June 27, 2008.

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