Marketing ads, soon to be screening on your car dashboard

Drivers of the world, you need a pizza.

You might not know that you need a pizza, but your internet-connected car may soon assume that you do, in fact, need a pizza. Yes, you could soon be seeing on-dashboard ads and coupons for your nearest pizza shop (unless you fork over money for an ad-free driving experience, that is).

Welcome to the future: get ready for car-delivered ads tailored to your whereabouts and your typical routes. Auto-tech firm Telenav announced on Thursday an “in-car advertising platform” for internet-connected cars.

What’s that, you say? You just want to tool around in your Lexus without seeing ads for Little Caesar’s Pizza? Petco kitty litter? IHOP pancakes?

Well, sure, ad-free driving is still an option, no worries. You’ll just have to pay more for connected-car services if you opt out of getting marketed at. Silicon Beat quoted a Telenav spokeswoman:

In return for accepting ads in vehicles, drivers benefit from access to connected services without subscription fees, as well as new driving experiences that come from the highly-targeted and relevant offers delivered based on information coming from the vehicle.

Telenav CEO H.P. Jin said in the company’s press release that it’s an “exciting” new opportunity for OEMs to “monetize connectivity to cover service costs” and to drive “healthy profits” while delivering “safely delivered, engaging and relevant offers.”

Safely delivered, as in, you won’t see the ads while the car is moving. That opens the possibility of perfecting the art of slowly rolling through stop signs if you don’t want the ads to catch up to you. Not that we recommend that scofflaw behavior, mind you.

Besides, who knows? The ads might come in handy.

On Telenav’s page for its “Thinknear” mobile-advertising products, it boasts of its access to data, showing where people are and what they do in the marketplace.

We’re talking about taking all the good stuff (the consumer behavior stuff, the location services stuff, the data crunching stuff) and mixing it all together so you have the power to give consumers ads they actually want. Even before they know they want it.

See? Pizza. You didn’t know you wanted it, but Telenav saw you were just about to pass a pizza joint, so there you have it. On the truly practical, more low-carb side, as Telenav points out, your car’s knowledge of where you are can come in handy when mixed with its knowledge that you’re about to run out of gas.

From its press release on what it’s dubbed the In-Car Advertising Platform software development kit (SDK):

Relevant ads such as coupons and recommendations are delivered to customers based on information from the vehicle, including frequently traveled routes, destinations, and time of the day. As an example, drivers can be encouraged to pick up a discounted pizza on the way home or be alerted to sales at stores near their destination. In addition, when the vehicle is low on gas, the platform points out nearby stations along the driver’s route, potentially with discount offers.

Telenav says that in order to ensure salivating drivers don’t wrap themselves around telephone poles, distracted as they might be by all this talk of pizza, ads will only appear when the vehicle is stopped, be it at car startup, traffic lights and upon arrival. Whenever the car is in motion, or whenever drivers interact with other in-dash functions such as music or phone calls, poof, the ads disappear.

A Telenav spokesperson told Silicon Beat that most of the ads would be static, with some animated ads thrown it, but they won’t contain audio.

The company wants to sell the SDK to major auto manufacturers. The Telenav spokeswoman told Silicon Beat that Toyota, Lexus, Ford, GM and Cadillac already use the company’s connected-car products.

Will you be able to get away from ads in autonomous cars, where the whole “let’s not distract the driver” thing goes right out the window? That’s highly unlikely, given that we’re talking about a captive audience that can be safely distracted.

Will you pony up the money to drive a car without ads? Or does the idea of getting a coupon for a nearby store inspire you to scream “EXTRA CHEESE, PLEASE!!!”???