Las Vegas just got a touch more bearable. Uber is using Vinli and T-Mobile to equip its Vegas cars with Wifi. Thanks to Vinli’s hardware, the cars will become mobile hotspots. This is a limited time offer — just for CES.
Vinli is working to add Wifi into the ridesharing equation. This is a good first step. And a wise one at that. Vegas is packed with the consumer industry’s best during CES, many of whom will likely opt for an Uber ride rather than standing in a mile-long taxi line.
The service works through Vinli’s hardware that connects to a vehicle’s systems through an OBD II port — a data interface equipped standard on cars since 1996. From there a smartphone connects to the device through Bluetooth and serves up a multitude of apps, anything from a safe teen driving app to an OnStar-like service to an Automatic clone that helps drivers drive smarter. And, of course, the device packs a T-Mobile 4G LTE hotspot, which Uber will be using to serve riders with Wifi.
The company launched in Startup Battlefield at Disrupt SF 2014 and earlier this year, raised $6.5 million ahead of bringing the device to market.
Uber finally launched in Vegas back in September. Currently the service only has UberX, UberXL, and Uber Select (think Uber Black, but the luxury cars do not have to be Black).