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Driving It: Implications of the Internet-connected car

CNET Car Tech columnist Wayne Cunningham looks at what will happen when our cars are connected to the Internet.

Someday soon, cars will be rolling Internet access points. Different technologies that exist today could make it happen, such as an iPhone-like connection that picks up Wi-Fi when in range of a hotspot, then switches over to a cellular network when necessary. Or it could be through WiMax, a solution I've heard mentioned by automotive parts suppliers. There are a lot of obvious benefits, such as keeping navigation system maps and points of interest up to date, or having cars serve as traffic probes, reporting to a central database where traffic is slowed or stopped.

But what about the consequences? Back in 1995, when office computer networks started getting connected to the Internet, nobody could predict the wide range of things people are doing on them today. But given this available hindsight, I've got some ideas about what people might do in their Internet-connected cars, and how it all might play out.

Read the full column.