The opening of the Detroit Auto Show later this week also opens a can of worms. Many cities and states have passed laws to restrict texting by automobile drivers. It is obvious that police will be challenged when it comes to enforcement, claiming that officers will struggle to witness the behavior and that exemptions written into many of the laws will complicate their job. But at the Auto Show, Ford Motor Company will connect the car to the Internet with the introduction of its new MyFord Touch driver connect technology and the second generation of its popular SYNC in-car connectivity system. The brake on this advance is that the technology works only when the vehicle is parked…but the gear may be easily modified. MyFord Touch-equipped vehicles will feature a WiFi signal receiver that will provide Internet access, when parked, through a Ford-developed Web browser using the system's 8-inch touch screen. Also, inserting an owner's compatible USB mobile broadband modem into SYNC's USB port will produce a secure wireless connection that will be broadcast throughout the vehicle, allowing passengers with WiFi-enabled mobile devices to access the Internet while on the go.

Studies by the Consumer Electronics Association show that as many as 77 million adults make up the so-called technology enthusiast drivers population, more than half of whom express the desire for a connected communications and information system in their vehicles. Even among the general population, more than one third of Americans would be interested in the ability to check email and access Web sites in their vehicles.

The two USB 2.0 ports included in the MyFord Touch Media Hub let owners leverage a variety of devices, including the mobile broadband modem. And through simple software updates, SYNC can be adapted to connect with the latest devices.

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