The Chrysler Corporation will make wireless Internet available as an option in its 2009 models, including most Dodge, Jeep, and Chrysler models. The Internet-enabled models will come as a dealer-installed option and carry a monthly service fee by September of 2009, according to the company. Many say such wireless features will become standard, but Chrysler is the first car maker to make it available. The wireless feature will be part of Chrysler's Uconnect system that enables the driver to access the car stereo through the steering wheel, connect to BlueTooth, and adapt the stereo to control an MP3 player when plugged
The Uconnect system is part of the company's attempt to keep up with its competitors, as its sales fell significantly in the past year. Currently, Ford has a similar electronics system that will probably hold Internet accessibility in the near future.
Uconnect comes with a 30-gigabyte hard drive and touch-screen capabilities that give the driver real-time traffic conditions and navigation features, and coupled with the wireless Internet service next year, Uconnect will be at the forefront of online car development.
Although an innovation, wireless car Internet comes with many criticisms, primarily worries about further driver distractions.
Chrysler contends that the Internet is not meant to be used by the driver while the car is in motion, but there is no way to stop it from happening. The best way to use the Internet is to have the passenger access it or pull over.
Some transportation agencies, namely in California and Washington where a July 1 law prohibits drivers from using cell phones without headsets, opposed the online feature in cars.
Still, Chrysler is sure to be the first of many, if not all, car makers to make models Internet-ready.