In-Vehicle Infotainment? A connected car? What’s that and why would I want or need it?
A few decades ago, I remember Al Gore and the tech world talking about hitting an overdrive button that would have us all cruising on the [Information Superhighway](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_superhighway), bringing a life where nearly everything would be connected to the Internet, from computers and TVs, to schools and hospitals.
We may not be “living the dream” yet, but there’s no doubt in my mind’s eye that innovation is alive making our world more connected.
At the end of 2009, I got to host the [MotorWeek](http://www.youtube.com/Motorweek) crew as they visited Silicon Valley in search of how computer technology was being used inside cars. The segment made me think more about how auto makers could use technology as a differentiator, as a way to meet new needs of people interested in buying a new car.
At the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, I captured video showing how auto makers can use [Intel Atom processor technology](http://www.intel.com/design/embedded/infotainment/products.htm) to make in-vehicle infortaiment a standard feature in new cars.
In a recent segment by [RocketboomTech ](http://www.rocketboom.com/category/tech/)sponsored by Intel, Reporter Ellie Rountree visted the New York Auto Show and found a common tech trend, “Connecting Cars to the Datastream.”
Her segment explored how Internet technologies are being built into new cars from [Ford](http://www.fordvehicles.com/technology/sync/), [Audi](http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-31229_7-10432991-257.html), Mini and Smart. It’s interesting to see so many different options coming to market, from smartphone itegration and embedded computers to new touch pads, buttons and other human-to-machine interfaces that get you onto the Internet.
Having the Internet in my car is not essential today, but ask me or my family in a year or two and we just might say it’s a must. Today, I don’t need entertainment from the Internet in my car…but I like the idea of being able to service my car quicker or more easily by having my car connected to my dealer through the Internet. I also think it’d be cool if my family could book a hotel or find a local store through the Internet while we’re together on a roadtrip.
Having a smarter car to me has always meant having a safer, better equipped car that is worth the price. For many people today, having a smart car means that it has a hybrid or even an elecrtically powered engine. Soon, having a smart car will mean that it’s Internet smart and includes a way for me to immediately connect to the Information Superhighway.
What’s a must have for your next car?