driving into the cloud?

From a news story I saw today on RIM acquiring QNX, this quote jumped-out at me: “RIM’s acquisition of QNX could open the door for tighter integration between Blackberry devices and car computers, a capability that could be important as cars begin to drive into the cloud.”

I wonder what folks would think if car manufacturers put more-powerful computing components in their cars, and while the vehicles were driving around, they contributed to something like Folding@Home? When the vehicles were within range of either an open hotspot, or if they used some “catch-all” cell internet service like the Kindle does, they could be checking-in their work frequently.

Ignoring the obvious privacy invasions this will add-to (if your cell phone is on, it’s trackable already – so having your car on means squat), this could be an interesting revenue stream for auto manufacturers: sell the vehicles to consumers for less money, but then rent time on their computers to folks who need massive computing resources. Of course, the buyer would have to agree, and there needs to be a way to opt-in/-out. But it’s still an interesting idea, I think.