In North America, the Uconnect infotainment system that Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) use in almost all of their cars (ranging from RAM trucks to even the Maseratis) is considered to be one of the best in the business, lauded for its ease of use and its snappy response. While FCA is not afraid to keep a good thing going for far longer than it should (see 12-year old Fiat 500), it seems that they’ve got good plans afoot for its infotainment systems.
Beginning at the end of this year, FCA will be fitting its cars with a new infotainment system replete with its own cloud-based ecosystem, which will be powered by Google and supported by Harman (a member of the Samsung group). Being an Android system, the new Uconnect (since it doesn’t have a name yet) will offer things like app support, live navigation, over-the-air updates, 4G mobile connectivity (and “support [for] the evolution of 5G”), and smartphone connectivity.
The system will also benefit from the Harman Ignite platform, providing it with native info on petrol & charge stations, weather & traffic updates, live customer assistance, and even more banal things like restaurant reviews. It’ll also support the Samsung SmartThings internet-of-things system, which will enable it to hook onto infrastructure systems that could be later introduced by different towns and districts.
The Android system will also bring huge benefits of electrified FCA models in the future. We’re made to understand that ‘Uconnect V2’ (which is our moniker for it) will also offer features for trip-planning (around charge stations), battery & power management, and even vehicle-to-grid support.
FCA says that the full rollout of the system, where it’ll be fitted to every new car across all of their brands, will begin in the second-half of this year and be complete by 2022. There’s been no mention on where the new system will debut or what it’ll offer from the get-go, but it’s great to see that it’s being developed in preparation for future usability.