Wi-Fi Tiguan: Volkswagen tests Internet car

Volkswagen has just tested a car that could tell you which petrol stations have the lowest prices, or which pubs are having a happy hour, as you drive along

Imagine driving along and being told by your car which nearby restaurants have special offers, which petrol stations have the lowest prices, or which pubs are having a happy hour in your current location.

It might sound far-fetched, but Volkswagen has been testing in-car wireless Internet access with a specially built Tiguan that could achieve all these things and more.

There are two parts to the system. The first is a specially prepared Volkswagen Tiguan sporting a PC, some proprietary software and a Wi-Fi adaptor. This communicates -- wirelessly, of course -- with a city-wide Wi-Fi network linked to a continuously updated portal brimming with local information.

Currently, the system provides access to information on 'City Life', 'Travel' and 'Wellness' -- all of which can be shown on the display of the vehicle's navigation system.

This should deliver intelligent location-based services that -- unlike the points of interest on your sat-nav -- can be updated by the second. It also means you can communicate with your car via your laptop or Wi-Fi-enabled smartphone. Want to know if you've forgotten to lock the doors? If the alarm's gone off? Which bit of a giant car park you've left the car in? It's all accessible via your Wi-Fi ready PC or iPhone.

It could be some time before it's available to the filthy public (that's you), but we're optimistic. Blanket city-wide Wi-Fi isn't particularly difficult to achieve and neither is fitting a wireless-enabled computer in a moving vehicle. The main difficulty, we believe, is in creating a viable service that meshes it all together. Let's hope they pull it off.

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