From quick trips to the local coffee shop to long flights across the US, we’ve come to expect Wi-Fi access nearly everywhere. But what about the place Americans spend nearly 300 hours a year, their cars?
According to bankrate.com, built-in Wi-Fi technology was a standard or optional feature in 90 vehicle models for 2015. General Motors largely led the way with Wi-Fi Hotspot capabilities built into a number of their vehicles, but models from Audi, Chrysler, Tesla and others also feature the technology.
The trend of Wi-Fi enabled cars is expected to grow, with potentially 10 million vehicles boasting the technology by 2021. There’s a good chance your next car will have Wi-Fi capabilities – here is a glimpse of what you can look forward to.
Advantages of Wi-Fi built into your car
You use Wi-Fi at home, at work and while out-and-about, but having the technology built into your car presents its own unique advantages.
Better, more reliable signal – When you establish a Hotspot with your cellphone, you use your phone’s reception and antenna to receive and transmit the signal. Your car has a much larger antenna and more power, which often results in a stronger, more reliable signal for all to enjoy.
One-time use and monthly plan options – So far, providers are making it easy and affordable to get one-time data packages, monthly subscriptions or even add car data to your existing mobile plan.
Reduced phone data and battery usage – Mobile data is a precious resource, especially if you have the whole family on one plan. Using the car’s Wi-Fi instead of your phone’s can help save some of that cherished data, as well as the life of your phone battery.
Those advantages can appeal to just about anyone in the market for a new car, but they aren’t the main driving force behind the technology.
The real benefit of Wi-Fi in your car
There’s no doubt turning your car into a rolling Hotspot is convenient, but the real potential benefit is added safety and ease of maintenance.
As Tesla has shown us, in-car data connections are useful for implementing essential software updates, something a third or more of motorists often fail to do on their own. Using the vehicle’s Wi-Fi capabilities to rollout massive software updates could reduce costly recalls for manufacturers and increase safety for everyone on the road.
Given its convenience and safety applications, will you ask for Wi-Fi technology in your next vehicle? You may not have to. With the way automotive technology is advancing, Wi-Fi Hotspots built into the car may become as commonplace as cruise control and automatic windows.