FCA Announces Fourth-Generation Uconnect Systems At 2016 CES
As more and more automakers begin to offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is jumping aboard the bandwagon after announcing that the fourth-generation version of its Uconnect infotainment and connectivity system will include the two smart mobile systems to complement the system’s own features.
The inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are just two of the newest systems to be included in FCA’s Uconnect system. In addition, the fourth-generation connectivity system will also include capacitive touchscreens, performance improvements, enhanced processing power, heightened touchscreen responsiveness, vivid touchscreens with improved resolution and brightness, and the Uconnect 8.4 NAV system.
Of all the new goodies and features of the new Uconnect system, the biggest additions are without question Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The importance of these two systems has become more paramount now that more automakers are taking advantage of the ability to integrate smartphones into their connectivity systems, opening up a world of new and useful functions for navigation, music, phone calls, and entertainment services. It’s not an accident that FCA’s announcement comes a few days after Ford announced the addition of CarPlay and Android Auto into its third-generation SYNC connectivity system. With FCA also in the fold, the three major American automakers have all jumped into this pond with the two brands doing it a year after Chevrolet made CarPlay and Android Auto available in its own connectivity system. Other brands like Cadillac, Buick, Hyundai, Honda, and Volkswagen are already offering CarPlay or are also in the process of adopting it for their own systems.
FCA didn’t specify which models would get first dibs on the new-and-improved Uconnect system. What’s clear, though, is that the company plans to roll it out as soon as possible and on as many models as it can. At the very least, look for FCA to follow a similar blueprint what General Motors used when it announced that the two systems would become available on 14 Chevrolet models beginning with the 2016 models.
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Why it matters
This is a growing trend moving forward, so expect more automakers to become more aggressive in how they package their respective infotainment and connectivity systems. The arrival of FCA’s fourth-generation Uconnect system also comes at the right time as the company doesn’t want to be left behind in this particular race. FCA even took things a step further when it unveiled a futuristic technology display property at the CES to showcase its vision for the future of intelligent transportation.
Those who attended CES were able to see how FCA is developing its Uconnect system to serve a variety of functions, including predictive technology, vehicle-to-X communication, workload manager, privacy mode, and intelligent concierge, among others. These systems are still in their development phases, but once they are fully operational, expect these features to find their way into FCA’s UConnect systems in the future.
Wouldn’t it be cool to have a system that monitors a driver’s daily habits? Or a system that allows vehicles to communicate with each other on the road? How about a concept that specifically functions as a concierge of sorts and provide personalized suggestions to drivers after learning their driving preferences? All of these features are in play for FCA’s Uconnect system as the company continues to find ways to revolutionize the functions and features of infotainment and connectivity systems.
It hasn’t been getting the kind of publicity it deserves, but now that so many automakers are specifically pointing to its importance, we might see a more competitive arms race of sorts in the coming years. That’s going to be good for drivers, automakers, and the entire industry as a whole, as the issue of automotive connectivity is elevated to a whole new level.