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Audi A8 Gets Factory Integrated Mobile Hotspot

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the drive-and-surf dept.

Networking 126

adeelarshad82 writes "Audi's A8 luxury sedan will be the first vehicle with a factory integrated mobile hotspot when it ships this fall with an adapter capable of connecting up to eight devices via WiFi or Bluetooth. Audi integrates a WLAN module and antenna on the roof, using technology from chip-maker Marvell and Harman Automotive. The company says its WiFi software architecture is optimized for extremely low power consumption on battery-powered consumer electronics, enabling passengers to connect to the vehicle's network without affecting the battery life of their connected devices. The Audi system, called the Marvell Mobile Hotspot, will support any combination of smartphones, tablets, laptops, digital cameras, and gaming devices."

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126 comments

Tethering (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226706)

Still paying exorbitant data rates for cellular to actually access the Internet. I mean, it seems like the only real use would be to combine a bush party with a lan party, since I'm fairly sure that most of the people who would want mobile access on their laptop already have either a cellular stick for the laptop, or have already tethered their laptop to their cell phone....

Re:Tethering (2, Interesting)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226882)

People with an Audi A8 are most likely to be driven around by a driver, while sitting in the back with their laptop

And having in-car wifi just is a bit more stylish then having that usb dongle hanging out of your laptop.

Not to mention the fact that the kids nintendo DS wont work with a 3G dongle, but will connect to the in-car wifi

Re:Tethering (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33227000)

then than. i don't see a difference.

Re:Tethering (4, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227342)

People with an Audi A8 are most likely to be driven around by a driver, while sitting in the back with their laptop

It's a very expensive car, but not necessarily I-can-afford-a-chauffeur-expensive.

Re:Tethering (3, Informative)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227718)

People with an Audi A8 are most likely to be driven around by a driver, while sitting in the back with their laptop

No they aren't. It's a $76,000 (base price) car. I drive a $77,000 (base price; $95,000 as built) car, bought as second owner for $35,000, and I sure as hell couldn't afford someone to drive me around. http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2004/03/22/185936.html [theautochannel.com]

For a car with a driver, you should be looking at the Rolls Royce Phantom or similar. Those start around $380,000.

Re:Tethering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33228162)

I think it depends on the type of wealth. There are a lot of high-earners who end up with drivers once they calculate their opportunity cost of not working while stuck in traffic, etc. Think "high powered" lawyers and corporate executives who have to actively be on phonecalls and email at all hours. Audi actively markets to these types with their luxury sedans and particularly the "long" variants, where the back seat is arguably more nicely equipped than the front seats. On the other hand, there are idle rich who don't really have an opportunity cost with driving, and they are more likely to have a car as a fun toy to drive. Then there are the super rich who may be a combination of these and actually have a Rolls, a manner house, etc.

L version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33228382)

People with an Audi A8 are most likely to be driven around by a driver, while sitting in the back with their laptop

No they aren't. It's a $76,000 (base price) car. I drive a $77,000 (base price; $95,000 as built) car, bought as second owner for $35,000, and I sure as hell couldn't afford someone to drive me around. http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2004/03/22/185936.html [theautochannel.com]

For a car with a driver, you should be looking at the Rolls Royce Phantom or similar. Those start around $380,000.

1. The cars are designed for the original buyer. The target market for the cars is the initial ($95k) owner; the used-car buyer doesn't really figure into design decisions much.

2. The A8L version is specifically targeted at the chauffeured car market; hence the extra-large backseat.

3. The regular base A8 could go either way; it's big and luxurious enough to be a chauffeured car for members of the I-don't-want-to-drive crowd. (Who aren't tall enough to need the bigger backseat of the L.) No, it's not flashy enough for the want-to-be-royalty crowd, but there are many wealthy folks that would rather avoid the kind of attention that Bentley/Rolls/Maybach type vehicles tend to attract.

Re:Tethering (2, Interesting)

mzs (595629) | more than 3 years ago | (#33228632)

The fact of the matter is that you bought a car for $35K and cannot afford to be chauffeured around in it. In Europe big Audis like these are in fact commonly used to chauffeur around politicians. The people in the back are not the ones paying for the cars and in many European countries you might want to tack on 40-80% to the US price for a car "The 2011 Audi A8 L prices tarts at 79,000 Euro" 79,000 Euro is about $102K. You are not getting the same options and engine though for those prices. The price discrepancy is the biggest though on Japanese cars in the countries with high tariffs.

Re:Tethering (1)

Orga (1720130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227932)

My phone has this feature for free (rooted Droid X) I imagine everyones phone will provide this feature in a couple of years. This is just another tool for car buyers to waste their money on cheap features manufacturers can tack onto the car. (GPS comes to mind)

Re:Tethering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33228984)

An A8?

That's a middle-management car.

Re:Tethering (2, Interesting)

Alarash (746254) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227014)

If you own an A8, I don't think the "exorbitant data rates" for cellular access to Internet is a problem for you.

Re:Tethering (2, Interesting)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227758)

That really depends on how you choose to spend your money though, right? My car has about the same base price as an A8, and I got it by saving money, such as by using a pre-paid phone (average cost $8 per month) instead of $120 a month or whatever that a lot of folks blindly shell out.

It really depends on priorities. I spend a lot of time in my bed, in my home office chair, and in my car, so I'm going to spend money to enjoy those places. I don't spend that much time wandering around looking for internet access in public, so it's not worth the cost. Others may make different choices.

Re:Tethering (2, Informative)

Buelldozer (713671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33228034)

If you go to an online auto site, like autotrader.com, you'll find that a used 2005 Audi A8 Quattro can be had in the 28,000 to 30,000 dollar range. I see used '08s right now in the 45,000 to 50,000 dollar range.

Just because someone is driving a German luxury sedan doesn't necessarily mean that they have money falling out of their pockets. Audi's are surprisingly inexpensive used.

Re:Tethering (1)

TheTyrannyOfForcedRe (1186313) | more than 3 years ago | (#33228484)

If you go to an online auto site, like autotrader.com, you'll find that a used 2005 Audi A8 Quattro can be had in the 28,000 to 30,000 dollar range. I see used '08s right now in the 45,000 to 50,000 dollar range.

Just because someone is driving a German luxury sedan doesn't necessarily mean that they have money falling out of their pockets. Audi's are surprisingly inexpensive used.

Anyone who spends $30K on a car either has money falling out of their pockets or spends beyond their means.

Re:Tethering (2, Insightful)

Buelldozer (713671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33228686)

Well, that's your opinion and since it's just that, an opinion, it's difficult for me to argue or agree with you.

Re:Tethering (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33228718)

Yeah, but 90% of them still drive like douchebags, new or not.

Re:Tethering (1)

Buelldozer (713671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33228828)

I'm an Audi driver and I take exception to this. For 'douchebag' the drivers of SUVs and 3/4 ton pickup trucks have everyone beat.

I see far too many of people with heavy vehicles driving by the laws of gross tonnage. I alternate between my A4 and a Silverado 2500HD and I witness first hand the difference in treatment between me in my Audi and me in my ginormous pickup.

I get treated with far greater respect in the gas hog. People don't cut off me in traffic, people don't always presume they have the right of way at four way stops, etc.

In the Audi I'm constantly having to avoid putting the Audi's legendary safety record to the test. I get cut off, people take the right away at four way stops, people pull out in front of me, etc.

Do douchebags drive Audi's? I'm sure there's a lot of pretentious douchebags who do, but they're a minuscule percent of the population in comparison to the jackhole SUV/Pickup drivers!

Re:Tethering (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33228958)

My brother owns an Audi, and he doesn't drive like a douche ;)

It may just be Colorado. But when I see an Audi, I'm MUCH more likely to get cut off by them than by most any other make of vehicle. Don't get me wrong, there are assholes all over the place, but I would make a lot of money placing bets on being cut off or other asshole driving being done by Audi owners. The SUVs and trucks here, they only reliably cut you off if they're jacked up and have big tires, the aftermarket penis extension stuff.

Re:Tethering (1)

Patik (584959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229394)

It's still a good thing because car features tend to work their way down from luxury vehicles to "average joe" vehicles over time. Remember when only luxury cars had power windows or remote controls for (un)locking? Now those are a given in all but the most basic models. Sure, it'll take years, but at least it's beginning.

Eventually another manufacturer will want to make their semi-luxury car look like an Audi A8 and they'll add wifi. Then a slightly cheaper car than that will want to appear to be a good value, so they'll throw in "Audi features" for the same price (and these hotspots can't be that expensive when bought in bulk compared to the overall cost of the car), and so on.

Re:Tethering (2, Informative)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227410)

Still paying exorbitant data rates for cellular to actually access the Internet.
I dunno what it's like in the US but here you can get some "mobile broadband" plans that are farily reasonable as long as you stay within your allowance (the overage rates are indeed exorbitant).

since I'm fairly sure that most of the people who would want mobile access on their laptop already have either a cellular stick for the laptop, or have already tethered their laptop to their cell phone....
I see several advantages to having car mounted gear

1: it can probablly use higher transmit power without battery life fears (regulations will limit this but I think the regulatory limits are higher than what a typical mobile phone will use)
2: it can make use of an antenna with some gain. Mobile phones and mobile broadband sticks may be operated in any orientation so they can't really make use of antenna gain. Cars are nearly always operated upright.
3: A car mounted antenna can be outside of the car while a device mounted antenna will be inside the car.

The combination of these factors will mean it can probablly get a usable data signal where a laptop in your car with a mobile broadband stick can't.

Re:Tethering (1)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33228220)

Cars are nearly always operated upright.

Nearly?

Re:Tethering (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229058)

Well steep hills and racetrack banking would put the car some way from the horizontal so you would have something of a compromise between gain when the car is on the flat and not losing too much gain when the car goes up a hill.

Still I'd expect an antenna on a car roof to be far far better at holding a cellular signal than the one inside a phone or mobile broadband stick which is in turn inside a car.

Re:Tethering (1)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229198)

Cars are nearly always operated upright.

Nearly?

Yes, but when it isn't, would you like your network to die just when your closest relatives did the same? I mean: how would you tweet and facebook that?

Why not (3, Insightful)

maroberts (15852) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226722)

Have USB outlets in the car, into which you can plug in your devices, making them free from interception/hacking, giving power to the devices and thus saving on the battery power of the device and (tongue in cheek)not broadcasting harmful radio waves which can make your head explode(/tongue in cheek)?

Re:Why not (4, Insightful)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226902)

*five years into the future*

CxO#1: damn, i wish audi would get their shit together and write a driver for my A8, so i can use it with my windows 8 laptop...
CxO#2: oh, you went with the USB option? My A8 has the wifi hotspot, my kids love playing with their DS through nintendo-online on long trips you know? and my laptop also works flawlessly.

Re:Why not (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226950)

Drivers are hardly necessary; connections for tethering and storage over usb are fairly standard and thus unlikely to change.

WiFi has exactly the same issues as USB in this matter, without the charging ability

Re:Why not (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227002)

connections for tethering and storage over usb are fairly standard

But there are still a lot of devices that support Wi-Fi but not tethering, such as the Nintendo DS family.

Re:Why not (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226964)

I was thinking more along the lines of CAT5 sockets. Maybe even some power outlets. So much stuff lately is moving towards wireless. But really the best way is with wires. Wouldn't it be nice if your entire home was wired up with fibre optics. Wouldn't add much to the cost of the house, since most of the cost of the house is land, and has nothing to do with actual building costs. Same goes for a car. Just have retractable Ethernet cables in the doors. Plug right into your laptop. Sure wireless is nice, but nothing beats a wired connection.

Re:Why not (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226996)

Why would you want ethernet over USB, when USB would both power and provide access? How would I plug in an iPhone for instance?

Re:Why not (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227132)

Nothing beats it for what? I'll grant you security if you're absolutely worried that an unmarked van is going to be tailing you for miles and hacking into the car's wifi network. But speed? Unless the car is wired your bottleneck is going to be the car's connection to the Internet.

Although your idea would allow LAN parties in the car. Fun!

Re:Why not (1)

amnezick (1253408) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227330)

van .. chasing an a8? just floor it for 10 seconds and the van will be a pixel in your rear-view camera...

Re:Why not (2, Funny)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227356)

Nothing beats it for what? I'll grant you security if you're absolutely worried that an unmarked van is going to be tailing you for miles

This doesn't happen to Audis A8's. Only to BMW 7 series driven by Clive Owen.

Re:Why not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33228800)

Please list the devices that you know of that can use a USB connection for its network interface instead of WiFi. I've been sitting here for a few minutes and I can't come up with a single one (phone: nope; ipod touch: nope; laptop: nope).

Connected to what? (2, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226724)

Connected to the overly-expensive cellular internet?

I don't see much use, especially at the prices you pay for that. Allright maybe if you have one subscription and you want to use your mobile AND your laptop at the same time - but at the price you pay for the connection, is it worth it?

Re:Connected to what? (4, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226748)

I don't think the kind of people that buy an Audi R8 are going to be all that concerned about cellular costs, which in any event might be negligible depending on their country of residence. Everyone that I know who owns a car comparable to an A8 either has at least one other vehicle for more mundane use like shopping, taking the kids to school etc., or is quite well paid and single.

Re:Connected to what? (2, Informative)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226934)

I don't think the kind of people that buy an Audi R8 .....

Audi A8 != R8. The R8 is a sports car. The A8 is a large saloon/sedan.

Re:Connected to what? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33227146)

The audi A8 is just a little less expensive than the R8.

It is anyway a luxury car. And the average A8 customer is going to buy it full optional and loves this kind of toys in his car. That average customer is also not having monetary problems and, as someone stated earlier, often has a driver.

Also most european governament leaders, big politicians and also many clerical high autorities do ride in audi A8s and have a driver.

It's definitely a car for people who have money to spare, no less than the R8.

Re:Connected to what? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227392)

You picked up on a typo. The OP knew the article was about the A8, as he stated as much later on in the post.

That doesn't stop you being correct, though. The R8 is a sports car, the A8 is a luxury saloon. For a mix of the two, look for the S8. All of the sedan, with a little more <JeremyClarkson>POWAAAAAAAAAAAAR!</JeremyClarkson>

but in some places 1gb of data costs more then a c (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227598)

but in some places 1gb of data costs more then a car with out a plan or roaming so go to Canada and end of with a bill that is more then the car.

Re:Connected to what? (1)

jatabbert (1731090) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226758)

Audi's A8 luxury sedan

People buying this car can afford to have a few different internet connections.

Re:Connected to what? (1)

gvoima (1868430) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226764)

That heavily depends on the country, here a unlimited transfer speed and data on a almost 90% country wide 3G coverage network, plan is about 18 dollars/month. The funny part is, if you have money to buy a A8, why would you even think about the prices of a network connection? :)

Re:Connected to what? (1)

jbb999 (758019) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226784)

Because you spent all your money on an expensive car and have none left to pay for data? :)

Re:Connected to what? (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226914)

Well, if you spent all you money on the car, at least it'll be nice to have wifi in there when the bank forecloses on your house :P

You can park at work, sleep on the backseat, and watch porn through the in-car wifi! it saves on petrol costs too!

Re:Connected to what? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227028)

And on top of that, most of the time it will be a company car (at least in Belgium) so the company will pay for their cellphone connections anyway.

And then some will have a driver and will be wanting to have the ability to work in the back on their portable and Iphone/Blackberry just as if they are in the office.

This is not marketed to people where the kids can do online status updates during the school run. That will be done with moms SUV.

Re:Connected to what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33226768)

This is an $80,000 car, surely their owners can afford $60/mo (or less) for cellular internet.

Re:Connected to what? (1)

k2r (255754) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226776)

You get about 5GB for about 20 per month. I think that's an okay price for now.

Re:Connected to what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33227308)

Where?

Verizon charges 59.95 for that.

Seriously

Verizon saves $1985 + $140 / mo. (1)

professorguy (1108737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229324)

This past spring, after a 13-year wait, I issued (in many tech/comm forums) a blanket offer of $2000 upfront and $200 per month to ANYONE who could get me 1+Mb at my house.

On Monday I took home a Verizon USB modem and I now get about 1.5Mb. Total cost? $15 down and $60 / mo. To me, that's savings of $1985 upfront and $140/mo.

Yes, it's capped at 5GB, but my dialup was capped at 8GB since that is 26.4kbps * 60s * 60m * 24h * 30 days * (1byte/8bits). And yes, it's expensive. But for 13 years, people told me to MOVE to get internet, so this $60/mo has SAVED MY HOUSE! So not so expensive in the big picture.

Re:Connected to what? (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226888)

Several cellular companies, including (but not limited to) Sprint and T-Mobile, are offering all-you-can-eat wireless data for pretty affordable flat-rate prices these days. After all, they gotta do something to lure customers away from AT&T.

Re:Connected to what? (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227004)

Connected to the overly-expensive cellular internet

If you drive an Audi A8 you have some extra pocketmoney to spare.

Added to that, I can imagine these cars being leased by coorporate/direction types who can bring it in as a company expense.

I pay 8euro for 500Mb/month for my 3G connection which gets me by for what I do until I hit a Wifi-hotspot.

For a "businesspack" with unlimited calling/texting and 500Mb on 3G (+0,0165euro/MB if you go over it) you put out 70euro, which you can write off taxes. (mind you, a nice businessdinner cost you ALOT more as 70 euro)

Why the heck is this news? (2, Informative)

h7 (1855514) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226756)

Is a mobile hotspot some great unheard of technology? Even a cheap mobile phone or laptop can set up a hotspot. They just took the hardware and put it in a car instead of somewhere else.

Re:Why the heck is this news? (1)

gvoima (1868430) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226798)

True, I'm actually quite surprised that this hasn't been done on high-end vehicles earlier.

Re:Why the heck is this news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33227190)

RTFA... It has. e.g. Chrysler UConnect.

will support any combination of (0)

Netshroud (1856624) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226786)

smartphones, tablets, laptops, digital cameras, and gaming devices.

Gaming devices? Who would put an Xbox, Wii, etc. in a car?

Re:will support any combination of (2, Funny)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226796)

I heard you can get an awesome experience playing racing games.

Re:will support any combination of (2, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227016)

Yo dawg! I herd you like driving, so I put an XBox in your car so you can drive while you drive!

I know, that was terrible. But someone had to say it, right? I'll show myself out now.

Re:will support any combination of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33226834)

I think they mean something more along the lines of a PSP [wikipedia.org] rather than an XBox.

For the kids in the back seat of course. (Just remember to get them headphones or the bleeping and blooping sounds of their games will annoy you even more than the incessant "are you there yet"s.)

Re:will support any combination of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33226862)

There are now gaming devices which can be moved around made by well known manufacturers. One example is a "PSP" or some such new fangled technology.

Re:will support any combination of (1)

Tom9729 (1134127) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226880)

People with kids? Also keep in mind "gaming device" could mean a portable system with wifi (eg. Nintendo DS, Sony PSP).

Re:will support any combination of (1)

Custard Horse (1527495) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226890)

Perhaps hand-held gaming devices might be more appropriate?

It's a step forward certainly. Not being able to surf effectively whilst on the road is a pain. Doing so from the back seat of a car with your laptop seems like a good idea. Skype anyone?

Re:will support any combination of (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229292)

Gaming devices? Who would put an Xbox, Wii, etc. in a car?

People with kids ? DVD players and headrest LCDs are pretty common, throwing in a PS3 or XBox360 as well isn't much of a stretch.

Donning my tinfoil hat... (0)

poptones (653660) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226846)

I'm not normally one who subscribes to the brain cancer hype, but this seems a little close even for me. Basically you're talking about an RF transmitter sitting a foot from everyone's head, and people tend to spend a good bit of time in their cars.

OK, come on with it... yeah I'm a lunatic. But I'm not a lunatic who thinks having an antenna stuck a foot from your head, beaming a signal for hours on end, would necessarily be what I would call a "feature." Maybe if the antenna was stuck in the bermuda box or the footwell... it's not like it needs to be line of sight, since it's like two feet from a laptop and there aren't exactly a lot of walls inside an Audi.

Re:Donning my tinfoil hat... (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226938)

Audi probably tunes this thing down a LOT. It only has to work in a ~4 foot radius anyway, and the outer shell of the car will keep most of those waves/energy inside for a few bounces, so this wont be like duct-taping a linksys router onto the ceiling of your car.

Re:Donning my tinfoil hat... (1)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227112)

You're right in your careful thinking. I have a D-Link home router sitting literally 3 feet away from me on my desk, and with the WiFi radio transmitter on HIGH, I really had a hard time falling asleep after an 8hr period sitting beside it. I was restless and felt like crap all day long. I don't know if it was the weather, maybe just me feeling less than perfect or if the router actually played any role in it. But It's now on LOW and a little out of the way of my head, today I woke up at 6am and feel a little better. It's hard to say if it actually helped or if I'm simply trying to perpetuate my own imagined outcome, but better safe than sorry, right?

Am I missing something? (2, Informative)

2gravey (959785) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226860)

Doesn't every major auto maker offer mobile hot spots on 2010 models? What is so different about this?

And? (1, Insightful)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226870)

If I go and buy a Mifi and a 12v cigarette lighter to usb cable, I could wire it in behind the dash myself in 10 minutes.

Close, but not quite the same (1)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#33228084)

What I suspect is that the mobile hotspot is probably part of a bundle of data features that tie into other parts of the system that would be difficult-to-impossible to do in another car with just a Mifi.

For example, mobile data would enable traffic updates, map updates, periodic polling for recall info, reporting car operation data or problems to the manufacturer or dealer, etc.

I can see getting an email or a phone call from a service adviser telling me "your car is indicating trouble codes for $car_system, this is a warranty item, would you like to schedule an appointment for service?"

Something I don't understand (3)

zebslash (1107957) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226908)

[...]enabling passengers to connect to the vehicle's network without affecting the battery life of their connected devices.

Can someone explain this? or is it just marketing bs? As far as I know, the battery life of the devices that are connected to some access point or router is not affected by the nature of the router. The fact it uses low power components is important for the car's battery (or fuel consumption), not for the attached device! Or am I missing something?

Re:Something I don't understand (1)

gvoima (1868430) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226960)

The router configuration shouldn't affect the mobile device itself. I think there was a mistake between the reporter and engineer :) Maybe they ment, that it doesn't use much power, so that you can't start the car after posting on slashdot while not running the car.

Re:Something I don't understand (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226980)

Marketing BS.

And it's probably not important for the car, either - I'm pretty sure a car can't actually burn more gas to power something electrical.

Re:Something I don't understand (1)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227152)

And it's probably not important for the car, either - I'm pretty sure a car can't actually burn more gas to power something electrical.

But it does. Electricity in a car isn't free. It has to be produced by the alternator, and spinning the alternator takes additional power from the engine. Additional power means additional fuel to provide that power.

You might be able to demonstrate it to yourself with a simple experiment some day when you're bored. In a quiet place, with the car sitting at idle, turn the headlights on and off (set the high beams on.) Listen carefully for a slight drop in engine speed when the lights come on, then listen for it to speed up again when the lights go out. That reduction in speed is due to the additional load the alternator is placing on the engine.

(Of course your mileage may vary. If you have halogen lights, they're more efficient than sealed beam lights, so it might not draw enough current to make an audible difference. Cars with bigger engines that turn slower (or diesel engines) won't have a dramatic decrease in RPM. Older cars with tiny engines that derive horsepower through high RPM are likely to demonstrate the most noticeable difference.)

Re:Something I don't understand (5, Interesting)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#33226994)

Data radios in gadgets usually ramp up their power if the signal they receive from whatever they are connecting to is very weak, causing massive battery drain. That's why a cellphone in a busy city (with a strong signal from the many close cell towers) will last considerably longer than a phone in an area with very weak service. I guess if they fit their antennas in a sensible manner (ie not blocking the signal with chunks of metal and lots of leaky wires), they'll be able to bathe the inside of the cabin with sweet, sweet radio waves, allowing all the devices in the car to essentially whisper to each other.

Re:Something I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33227806)

802.11 (which is what they would probably use) AFAIK does not do that.

Re:Something I don't understand (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#33228076)

802.11 (at least the newer flavours) has the capability of changing its transmitting power, as does Bluetooth, the other wireless standard being employed.

Re:Something I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33229298)

Audi A8 aluminum construction makes it a Faradays cage and blocks radio signals so an external antenna is a must.
The WIFI will only be useful for devices inside the car.
Or am I wrong?

Re:Something I don't understand (1)

phoebus1553 (522577) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227466)

[...]enabling passengers to connect to the vehicle's network without affecting the battery life of their connected devices.

Can someone explain this? or is it just marketing bs? As far as I know, the battery life of the devices that are connected to some access point or router is not affected by the nature of the router. The fact it uses low power components is important for the car's battery (or fuel consumption), not for the attached device! Or am I missing something?

Did they maybe include an inverter in the option group?
-- note: I didn't read the article

Subaru already anounced this (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33227180)

Er, did you forget about the Subaru outback which will also have this?

http://www.zercustoms.com/news/2011-Subaru-Outback-Mobile-WiFi.html

Still just an isolated tech toy (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227234)

Until the auto sensor grid has some MIBs and an SNMP read-only community name so my home system can download log data, WLAN in a vehicle is just a toy. Otherwise this is just a pointless trivial implementation to generate profits and marketing fuzz.

Already available by Citroen (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33227274)

Actually a WLAN Hotspot is already an option (~300 EUR) in Citroen cars, at least in Germany.

Available on all pickups in the US for 2 years (2, Informative)

ccham (162985) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227382)

Great that the A8 has finally met the luxury of a truck.

Re:Available on all pickups in the US for 2 years (2, Informative)

phoebus1553 (522577) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227540)

Great that the A8 has finally met the luxury of a truck.

I thought close to the same thing myself, since I was pretty sure there was a Dodge commercial about theirs years ago. According to TFA, this is the first as a 'factory' option. Chrysler's apparently is a dealer-install, and if you google for 'chevrolet hotspot' one of the first links is the original announcement that states theirs is a dealer accessory as well.

Re:Available on all pickups in the US for 2 years (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227838)

Who gives a flip if it's a dealer accessory or installed at the factory? The fact remains this is nothing new.

It has been trivial to get internet access in a vehicle for years and years.

Re:Available on all pickups in the US for 2 years (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#33228134)

This is something new. This is a car that is being designed with containing a mobile hotspot in mind. That is something considerably different to "everyone loves internets to lets put some in a box and let the dealer screw it to some metal and hope the signals aren't screwed up by the large metal chassis and wires". If you can't see the difference, then, wow, I guess :)

Re:Available on all pickups in the US for 2 years (1)

Degrees (220395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33229162)

I agree with you - it is nice to see the manufacturer design it in (and supposedly figure out how to extend the design in a way that makes computing pervasive within the cabin). However, I would prefer some sort of docking station for my Droid / iPod. My Droid will soon be a MiFi, and is already a super GPS. And speech-to-SMS box. And car radio. And law-enforcement-style video recorder. And eventually, a Hulu streamer.

My point is that with a dock for a general purpose device, I could do far more, and, not be locked into a monthly fee for a service my general purpose device (will soon) already provide.

I need a dock that provides a charging station without clumsy cables, line of sight to the GPS, a place where I can see the on-screen map, provide aux-in to the stereo, and an unobstructed view out the front windshield, and cooling. If you want to route an HDMI cable to the back passenger media station(s), that's a good idea too.

I mention cooling because in GPS mode my device tends to run hot. It is doing a lot, so this makes sense. I don't think it needs refrigeration, per se, but a fan might be nice. It is probably overheating due to the car mount, which wraps around the box and traps heat.

Max Headroomization of the world (1)

British (51765) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227504)

Internet access in a car? Wireless no? Insert joke about moving your house around to find said WIfi hotspots.

Instead of TVs everywhere in Max Headroom, it's Internet access in real life.

Just another excuse to make your car phone home... (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227694)

It seems to me this is just another excuse to enable <cough/> your car <cough/> to be able to "phone home" to its real masters.

First there was OnStar - "Oh look at all nifty things we can do for (to) you: we can lock and unlock your car, kill the engine (but only if the cops ask nicely we pinky swear!), and tell you when you need to pay our dealership for service!"

People like me said "No, thank you - DO NOT WANT! Remove it. No, not 'disable it' - REMOVE IT. I want to see the hole where the module used to be."

So now they are upping the ante: "Oh lookie! We built a phone and hotspot in your car (not that you couldn't have BOUGHT a hotspot module from your phone company cheaper), so you can have your toys while you drive (ignore the fact this gives us a great way to phone home on you, AND we don't even have to admit we are doing it by giving you a button you press that reminds you that you may be paying for the car, but we still control it)".

Again: no thanks. If I want a mobile hotspot, I can buy a module from my phone company and put it in my glove box. I can ALSO take that hotspot out of the car and use it elsewhere when I want. I can also upgrade it to the latest tech (talk to all the folks with Gen 1 Onstar and how wonderful it is now that AMPS is dead). I can also switch carriers, even to folks that aren't GSM/Edge.

I wish tehy would improve their POS MMI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33227706)

Audi's and particularly A8 have the worst interface (they call it MMI). The Navigation is the most useless on the planet. A $100 Nav system has infinite more features,. Same with the rest of MMI, it is brain dead interface. There is no way to stop the CD. The only way to stop it is switch to radio, otherwise it keeps running and changing CD's in the background. The climate control is useless (A6 is far better). I think A8 is the worse Audi. They are a lot of fun to drive though, Even then A6 is far better than A8.
I do own an A8, but will probably go to A6 (or RS6) as soon as I can afford it.

Anyone could do that years ago. (1)

Fastfwd (44389) | more than 3 years ago | (#33227786)

1- Buy an unlocked Nokia S60 phone such as the relatively cheap E71.. not the locked E71x
2- Get a SIM with data plan on a GSM carrier.. let's say AT&T
3- Buy joikuspot for 9euro and you can turn your phone into a wifi hotspot.. it also works as a phone at the same time. Really.. you can talk on the phone while browsing on the web via wifi. It does eat the battery really quick so you will want to plug the phone into the charger

I have been doing this in the car so that my passengers can use their laptops/ipods/psp/whatever and it works great

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