Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Thinking Things Through...

Does this strike you as a *good* idea?

Booting Up: GM rolling out Wi-Fi across product line
The nightmare of a long drive jammed in a car with all your nearest and dearest could soon be over. In just a few years, family road trips may seem vastly different: Passengers will be able to have their own devices to play a game, stream a movie, or get work done on a computer.

That’s because General Motors is working to turn cars into roving Wi-Fi hotspots for up to seven devices, introducing high-speed connectivity into more than 30 of its 2015 models. I had a chance to drive a 2015 Buick Regal with 4G LTE from Boston to New York last week, and it was superconvenient to use my favorite navigation app, Waze, while hooked up to the in-car Wi-Fi. The in-car mobile plans also come with enhanced OnStar, a service that offers emergency response, connectivity to real people, diagnostics and turn-by-turn navigation.
Um, hello? Aren't we trying to get people to *stop* using their wireless devices in the car? Isn't wifi going to make this worse? Are we likely to see commuters trying to use their laptop while steering as a result of this "innvoation"?

Now, look, I get it. The idea that I could surf the web on my iPad while the Mrs. drives us north to see the families is pretty appealing. The kids could use their devices - TheBoy has a PS Vita and can hang with his Madden peeps; BabyGirl G. is a budding Whovian and can watch shows online - and that would make the ride go much smoother.

But I fear these would be the exceptions to the rule. I suspect you'll start seeing cases of "distracted driving" shoot through the roof once wifi comes to the family truckster. Put in the capability to put any wi-fi capable device in your car and be connected, I suspect the allure of engaging in chat forums while stuck in traffic will start to increase traffic accidents.

Perhaps GM is in collusion with Maaco?

That is all.


Jeff B said...

Oh, this is a security nightmare... People dumb enough to utilize this sort of thing are dumb enough to fail to secure the wireless.

0007 said...

Which is the PRIME feature of this, Jeff, not a bug. The vehicle continously tracks (and will report if requested) exactly where it is.

Anonymous said...

The vehicle can also be hacked and allow hackers and tangoes to screw with the operation of the vehicle (make the fuel mix lean, apply the brakes, make the fuel mix heavy, damage the engine, make acceleration sluggish, crank up the cruise control to 11, ditto for the air and heat, etc) introducing additional distractions to the driver.

Heck, I have problems now with "wired" people driving like the car is their office but forgetting that offices don't crash into one another when you take your eyes off the door.

Joseph in IL

Knucklehead said...

I drive a very popular freeway 35 miles each way, twice a day. I see people doing everything but texting and dialing their phones is the worst. Then again, just yesterday I saw a guy reading what looked like a memo, in paper form. Up against his steering wheel.

No data to prove anything but I'm beginning to become convinced that these lane wander warning devices are giving people an even bigger excuse to pay attention to something other than their driving.

Old NFO said...

Concur, NOT going to end well... But in Japan they've hacked the navigation so they can watch TV and drive at the same time, so you can bet that will be coming here with the Wi-Fi

Stretch said...

While skirting Jacksonville (One simply does NOT drive through J'ville) the IDIOT!!! to the right was using BOTH!!! hands on his pad. And this was on 295 at speed.

As for BabyGirlG's Whoitis ... there is no cure. And I've been a happy sufferer since 1973. Of course that Bastard Steve Moffat has me screaming, crying, and laughing ... all in the span of 30 seconds. Great Stuff.

Geodkyt said...

Joseph --

It would be simple enough to have an air gap firewall between the 4G/wireless and the car's internal systems.

Unfortunately, you and I both know they wont do that until some serial killer makes a big splash jiggering the "anticollision" features through the 4G link to cause fatal crashes.

Anonymous said...


That costs money. Therefore, like the Pinto, it won't be fixed until there are enough dead bodies.

Joseph in IL

Evyl Robot Michael said...

Yeah, no. Just no. In addition to all the great points already mentioned... I spent entirely too long in the auto service industry, and have seen too many stoopid things General Mess (as well as other manufacturers) has done to see this as a good thing. Besides that, you can use any smart phone as a wifi hotspot, and there's absolutely no reason to integrate this feature into the car. If this goes mainstream, we all lose.