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No network, no Prius

February 18, 2020.

Toyota Prius.

© iStock.

When a car’s basic function (i.e. rolling forward) relies on network connectivity, you can end up as roadkill on the information superhighway. This is what happened to the tech reporter at the English daily The Guardian. Kari Paul had planned on spending the weekend in rural California, about three hours north of Oakland. She had rented a car through a local car-sharing service, GIG Car Share, which offers a fleet of hybrid Toyota Priuses and electric Chevrolet Bolts in the Bay Area and Sacramento. But on Sunday, the hapless reporter was left stranded on an unpaved road when the car’s telematics system lost its cell signal. Without being able to call home, the rented Prius refused to move.

Ars Technica, Jonathan M. Gitlin, “Driver stranded after connected rental car can’t call home.”