Microsoft has teamed with the Universities of Massachusetts and Washington to develop a new wireless internet system designed exclusively for cars. The technology, which is currently being tagged as Vi-Fi (short for Vehicle Wi-Fi), aims to provide motorists and their passengers with cheaper and more accessible internet than current cellular broadband systems used by the likes of Chrysler and BMW.

The developers hope to enable users to browse the net on the go without worrying about drop-outs as is the case with current mobile systems. The solution is a new technology called a steady signal, which relies on a series of multiple base stations to provide signals. The moving vehicle selects one base station at a time as a primary reception point, but it also lets other base stations in the system act as auxiliaries at any given moment, reports the Seattle Post.

If successful, passengers would be able to access uninterrupted VoIP, streaming television or radio and online shopping. Engineers are still in the testing phase but a trial conducted around the campus of Washington University found the system eliminated nearly all the problems of network drop-outs, allowing for seamless connections with software applications and internet phone calls.

The team are now planning to follow up with a more extensive test, however, researchers stress that any commercial application for the technology is still several years away.