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.