Carmakers like Mercedes-Benz and Audi AG plan to open up their automobiles to full Internet capability but there are hurdles in taking on this technology. Recent advances in bandwidth have eased the data flow needed to bring the Internet to the auto.
However, carmakers have difficulty defining what parts of the consumer Internet experience offer opportunities to them, as opposed to data service providers, content providers and network operators.
To date, most connected cars have used what's called a "walled garden" approach to outside data services, analysts said, giving strictly limited access to a few applications like Google Search.
Opening up to full Web access requires carmakers to break the “garden-wall” mentality. The November 2010 announcement by Mercedes-Benz that on-board Internet access will be available in the spring of 2011 through the myComand system on its new-generation SLK and later on the new C-Class indicates that premium-segment automakers believe they have found the right technological approach.
Audi's news that the development of its own Internet-connected Mobile Infotainment System in a joint venture, announced in a speech by CEO Rupert Stadler at the Consumer Electronics Show held in January 2011 in Las Vegas, reinforces that. Stadler said that drivers want their vehicles to be Internet-connected like how the other devices in their lives are.