The Internet is coming to Cadillac.
Starting next month, General Motors luxury brand will offer optional dealer-installed equipment that allows people in and around the vehicle to use laptop computers and other devices to connect to the Internet, equipment provider Autonet Mobile Inc. said today.
Rear-seat passengers are the target users, said Autonet CEO Sterling Pratz.
In the back seat theyre basically going to YouTube, where they once watched DVD players, Pratz said. Now every Cadillac CTS will come with the capability to have YouTube and Facebook in the car.
The system is built around a mobile router from Autonet, the same company that provides Uconnect Web, a wireless Internet service available in Chrysler LLC vehicles. It receives Internet signals through cellular data networks. It then creates a Wi-Fi hotspot in and around the car.
Autonet and Cadillac plan to show the device in a Cadillac CTS Sport at next months New York auto show.
One major difference from the Chrysler device is that the Cadillac router will be portable. It will connect to the vehicle through a docking port. A driver can have the docking port installed in more than one GM vehicle.
We did that because about 40 percent of our customers have asked for the ability to move it from their weekly car to their weekend car, Pratz said.
Autonet made the router smaller and sleeker for Cadillac. It will carry a Cadillac emblem and will be sold under the name "Cadillac WiFi by Autonet Mobile."
Customers will buy it from a dealer or online for about $499. Monthly subscriptions to Autonets Internet service start at $29.
Pratz said front-seat passengers are likely to use the Internet to stream music from such popular radio sites as Pandora or Flycast.
The technology raises a thorny issue: driver distraction. Because the Internet signal extends throughout the car, a person theoretically could surf the Internet while driving.
The only defense against that: the honor system.
When they sign up for it, they have to agree that thats not what this is for, Pratz said. We find customers are staying with it. Were not really seeing any problems out in the field.