Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in Auburn Hills today unveiled its Uconnect 5, which makes infotainment, car health, outside purchasing options, and safety features more effective, easily accessible, and customizable. The technology is now scalable across all FCA brands.
The new platform features several customizable interfaces that can store up to five different user profiles that save preferences for music, vehicle operation, temperature, seating position, and mirror placement. Drivers can switch between profiles with a single touch.
The user experience team worked with the interior and color and material design teams to integrate the new technology and make use of the three available screen styles – portrait, landscape, and square. Screen graphics are specific to everything from brand to vehicle trim level.
Users can personalize the Uconnect home screen with frequently used features for quick access. It also uses a card-based format that allows display screens to be personalized by grouping.
Uconnect 5 has new hardware with updated processing power, reaction speed, and memory to take advantage of the new Android operating system. The Atlantis architecture replaces Powernet as the next generation of FCA core in-vehicle electronics communication. The Uconnect 5 delivers operating speeds that are five times faster than the previous generation.
Additional outputs enable up to four displays in the vehicle and offer up to 15 million pixels in Ultra HD. They can work separately or in harmony and offer the most screen area offered in FCA products at up to 12.3 inches.
With the Uconnect skill for Alexa, users with Alexa-enabled devices at home can ask her to lock, unlock, start the car, play music, and more.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available on more than 80 percent of FCA’s North American applications. Uconnect 5 will bring the offerings to all of FCA’s North American operations. The feature adds wireless connectivity for phones.
Voice connect will be available on all product lines. It includes a new voice recognition engine with software, microphone technology, and natural voice capability. Its listening ability is improved in high background noise situations such as having an open window or in the rain. The system has a new “wake up word” that correlates to the brand of the vehicle so, for example, users can say “Hey Chrysler” to start a voice command.
Uconnect also has the ability to connect two Bluetooth phones simultaneously.
Uconnect’s all-new navigation is a solution from TomTom navigation and includes information for traffic, electric vehicle, and connected services. Maps over the air, which automatically detects, downloads, and installs relevant map updates in the background without disrupting navigation, has been added, as has last mile navigation, which provides walking directions through a phone from the vehicle to the final destination. Dynamic range mapping helps the driver visualize the vehicle’s range by displaying how far they can drive with current fuel or charge levels. If the range is insufficient, Uconnect 5 will make suggestions for recharging and refueling with a cost comparison.
The map also includes specific lane information and speed camera, traffic, and hazard warnings on the vehicle’s screen.
FCA offers a 12-month trial of Sirius XM that includes personalized stations powered by Pandora and thousands of hours of downloadable content including live sports, on-demand shows, performances, and interviews.
Uconnect’s cloud-based platform includes Uconnect Market, which gives customers the opportunity to order food, find gas stations, save on fuel purchases, and make dinner reservations from vehicles.
The Uconnect app allows users to start, lock, and unlock their vehicles as well as receive notifications. An automatic feature calls for outside assistance if the vehicle senses a crash, and the SOS call feature provides help at the touch of a button. Assist call allows users to contact the Uconnect customer care team, and stolen vehicle assistance can help police track vehicles’ locations. Family drive alerts delivers notifications to parents when boundary, curfew, or speed limits are broken. Also, owners can be notified when someone else is driving the vehicle with valet alert mode.
The new Uconnect includes features designed to reduce distracted driving. Voice control improvements, auto dimming, and use of warning signals and graphics can make the drive more comfortable, and controls are easier to access.
The platform also offers notifications regarding vehicle health. Some software updates will load automatically, and other services can be handled at dealers through the car’s service scheduling feature.
FCA research has shown that 51 percent of new-car buyers consider in-vehicle technology as part of their purchase.