Companies and governments always release negative news on a Friday afternoon. I know it’s early Friday in Germany, but it was just after 6pm here when I first saw this:
In-car advertising coming to BMWs
Australian car owners could soon have to contend with in-car advertisements during their daily commute.
BMW is developing technology which will allow businesses to market their products through the German car maker’s built-in satellite navigation system.
Yet another reason to always have at least one fully mechanical car?
In a carefully-worded press release void of the term “advertising”, BMW claims the “location-based offers and services” will be relevant to specific route and final destination during each journey.
So far the technology has been developed in a BMW 7-Series testing vehicle, and allows drivers to set their preferences by filtering information or turning the program off altogether.
At least that last bit is (somewhat) reassuring.
Cue the spin-doctor:
“The joint research project paves the way for an even greater level of driver comfort and convenience,” BMW said in a statement.
“Results from this project could allow future navigation systems not only to provide information about the quickest route but also to provide recommendations about special coffee deals at filling stations, the best parking deals or even real-time offers at a sports shop along the route – but only if the driver wants.”
Wow. The PR guy’s certainly earned his pay this week. These ads are merely there to help the driver, to make driving more comfortable and convenient.
BMW won’t make a cent from it, I’m sure.
Just the fact that they’ve thought of doing this is annoying. I don’t want to sound paranoid but it’s already disconcerting enough that there are sensors in a lot of modern cars that allow companies to track where you’re going, how quickly you’re getting there and other things you might be doing in your car during the trip.
The lads and ladies behind OnStar even have the technical capability to listen to conversations between occupants in a car (though they’ve been told in a very deep, serious voice not to by the US courts).
How creepy would it be to have your car company second-guessing where you’re going according to your GPS data and offering you items from that place or places nearby?
It’s one thing to get offers for cheap coffee. What about ‘sex toys 50% off’ when you’ve got the kids in the back?
No, BMW. 1,000 times No.
And that goes for any other car company that wants to try this. The ability to turn it off doesn’t hide the fact that the whole scenario is creepy, which means the people thinking it up are creepy, too.
I don’t want a car made by creepy people.