Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has set the industry bar with its user-friendly Uconnect infotainment systems over the past decade. With all of the advancements of infotainment over the past couple of years, FCA released details this morning about their new Uconnect 5 (or fifth-generation) system. The Android-based Uconnect 5 system offers all the same features that people have come to love while bringing a load more of features to the driver’s user experience (UX).
Desirable for both novice and experts alike, the all-new Uconnect 5 features several fully customizable interfaces storing up to five different user profiles. Each customer can build their own profile, featuring preferences for music and vehicle operation. The system also connects vehicle-side systems to a driver’s profile, such as temperature, seating position, and mirror placement. Switching between user profiles is simple and can be handled by a single touch.
UX is a significant reason for purchase and Uconnect 5 responds by providing an easy-to-use, intuitive and personalized experience for every customer. The UX design team worked hand in hand with the interior and color and material design teams to seamlessly integrate the new technology into each vehicle and make appropriate use of the three available screen styles – portrait, square and landscape. To integrate screens inside the vehicle, UX designers created detailed backdrops to match interior colors and themes. Screen graphics are specific to the brand and even vehicle trim levels. Surface integration also plays a role and coordinates with the surrounding interior materials. Care is taken with screen edges, location, angle and depth for proper viewing.
The all-new Uconnect 5 allows users to create an exclusive home screen with a familiar feel. Similar to specific icon placement on a mobile phone or computer, customers can personalize the Uconnect home screen with frequently used features for quick and easy access, featuring one-touch operation.
Uconnect 5 introduces a new, card-based format that allows display screens to be personalized, simplified and grouped by individual needs and interests while delivering a cleaner, fresher look. With multiple cards, the user can access the available features and determine how and where they are displayed. Once inside a card, information and icons can be accessed in no more than two button pushes.
The Uconnect performance upgrade starts with the hardware. The system processing power, reaction speed, and memory have been enhanced 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. In combination with an upgraded 50K MIP chip, 6GB of RAM and up to 64GB of flash memory, the all-new Uconnect 5 delivers operating speeds that are five times faster when compared to the previous generation. Faster processing speeds, advanced electrical architecture and more memory give the all-new Uconnect its lightning-quick response to touchscreen input.
Additional outputs enable up to four displays in the vehicle. Screens are available in a variety of aspect ratios, standard, landscape, and portrait, offering more flexibility in packaging and design across all FCA brands. With up to 15 million pixels in Ultra HD, screens can work separately or in harmony, depending on user preference and purpose. The all-new Uconnect 5 also represents the most screen area ever offered in an FCA product at up to 12.3-inches.
With the Uconnect skill for Alexa, customers with Alexa-enabled devices at home can easily ask Alexa to start the car, lock/unlock doors and more. Uconnect 5 brings Amazon Alexa directly into the vehicle itself, giving occupants the freedom to interact with Alexa just as they do at home or on a personal device. With Alexa built-in, occupants can ask Alexa to play music, podcasts and audiobooks; add items to their to-do list; check the news, weather, traffic, sports, and other real-time information; and access tens of thousands of Alexa skills. Responses and streaming audio are delivered through the vehicle’s audio system, allowing anyone in the entire vehicle to easily interact with Alexa.
The award-winning Uconnect system offers new conveniences, keeping customers engaged and informed all while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are currently available on more than 80% of FCA’s North American applications. Uconnect 5 will bring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to 100% of FCA’s North American offerings. The feature also adds wireless connectivity, allowing customers to wirelessly project phone apps quick and easy while leaving phones securely stowed.
The all-new Uconnect 5 adds exclusive features to the overall system and select features to specific vehicles for the first time with voice recognition available on all product lines. Better control of features in the vehicle with voice is arguably the most important technology to continue improving. Uconnect 5 features a new voice recognition engine with software, microphone technology, and natural voice capability.
Statements that would normally be only understood in human-to-human conversation can now be used to communicate with the navigation system, such as “Find an available EV charging station near me.” The advanced voice control system also improves its listening ability in high background noise situations, such as a rolled down window or rain hitting the windshield. Additionally, the embedded FCA voice recognition system has a new “wake up word” available that correlates to the brand of the vehicle: “Hey Chrysler, change the temperature to 70 degrees.” This feature eliminates the need to press a button to initiate the voice recognition system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also can be controlled via voice, engaged by pressing the voice recognition button.
The all-new Uconnect 5 features the ability to connect two Bluetooth phones simultaneously. This addresses many users who carry multiple phones or for passenger interaction with the Uconnect system along with the driver. Either way, Uconnect can manage input from two different devices with the ability to name one a priority over the other for various functions, including navigation, phone, music selection, and text messages.
Uconnect’s all-new advanced navigation is an intuitive built-in solution from TomTom navigation, integrating the latest technology. The Uconnect built-in navigation now includes TomTom’s traffic, EV & connected services, giving drivers the latest information for a safer and smoother journey.
Similar to personal devices, One-Box-Search makes it easy and intuitive to find a destination (search by voice or text). Unlike personal devices, even without internet connectivity, search and guidance continue to work with the system simply switching to offline map data.
Guidance is enhanced with the best possible routing, featuring the ability to add a destination along your route and an ETA that offers alternative routes with time extensions. Destination Prediction enables the system to learn when it is time to prompt the driver with guidance towards one of the user-saved favorite places.
Maps Over the Air and Last Mile Navigation also are new to Uconnect. Maps Over the Air is a TomTom technology that automatically detects, downloads and installs relevant available map updates in the background, without disrupting the navigation experience. Last-mile navigation provides walking directions from your vehicle to your final destination, via the Uconnect companion smartphone app.
The built-in navigation links vehicle systems to the route, accomplishing what phone navigation systems cannot. By 2022, FCA will offer more than 30 nameplates with electrified powertrains, half of which are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) or battery-electric vehicles (BEV), creating the need for charging stations to be integrated with the maps. Dynamic Range Mapping helps the driver to visualize the vehicle’s range by displaying on the map how far they can drive with current fuel/charge levels. If the range is insufficient to make it to the selected destination, Uconnect 5 will make suggestions for recharging /refueling with a cost comparison. A warning appears on-screen, prompting the user to choose a charging point/fuel station that is available and within range.
Multi-lane guidance provides specific lane information and detailed turns to help navigate through complicated intersections and on/off ramps, highlighting the suggested route well ahead of commanded guidance. Uconnect projects this information, as well as speed camera, traffic and hazard warnings to the vehicle’s cluster screen. This feature reduces lateral head movement so drivers can focus their attention on the road.
FCA was the first in the industry to offer SiriusXM with 360L and is the only automaker that provides owners with a 12-month trial of the next-generation audio listening experience. The 12-month trial of SiriusXM with 360L includes Personalized Stations Powered by Pandora along with thousands of hours of downloadable content, including live sports, free on-demand shows, performances, and interviews.
Uconnect 5 uses a cloud-based platform to power connectivity and deliver a full array of services, including the Uconnect Market in-vehicle commerce platform. The feature gives customers the opportunity to conveniently order food, find the nearest gas station, save money on fuel purchases and make dinner reservations, all from the comfort of the vehicle. With the new platform, FCA owners will be able to skip lines and save time by ordering (and paying for) food and beverages, reserve a table on the way to their favorite restaurant or locate and securely authorize pump-and-pay fuel at participating locations. Drivers can also locate and pay for nearby parking and schedule service appointments at FCA dealerships, all while in the vehicle without having to reach for a physical credit card.
4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is improved with a faster operating system. Processing speeds that are five times faster assist in keeping up to eight devices connected. The new software, hardware and operating system take the next evolutional step toward 5G. Uconnect 5 includes a three-month subscription with vehicle purchase.
Uconnect’s history began with phone integration and has continued to evolve. With the available Uconnect app, you can use your smartphone to start your engine, lock or unlock your vehicle or receive a notification. Inside the vehicle, SOS Call provides external assistance at the touch of a button. An automatic feature calls for outside assistance if the vehicle senses a crash has taken place. With Assist Call, owners can contact the Uconnect customer care team for help with their vehicle or instructions on using a Uconnect system. Stolen Vehicle Assistance can help police track a vehicle’s location and Family Drive Alerts delivers notifications to concerned parents when boundary, curfew or speed limits are broken. Owners can also receive a notification when someone else drives the vehicle while in Valet Alert mode.
The all-new Uconnect features additional elements to reduce distracted driving. Voice control is improved with new microphone technology and placement. Upgraded software identifies more tone variation and recognizes commands versus background noise, such as wind noise from a window rolled down at speed. Auto-dimming and strategic use of warning signals and graphic displays have been tested in real-world driving conditions to cover a wide range of responses from individual drivers. For example, there are redundant audio and visual warnings for an automatic emergency braking event. Auto-dimming and night mode on the screen help reduce eye strain when driving in the dark or in tunnels, with independent settings for each screen. For users who prefer touchscreen controls, redundant HVAC, comfort and radio operations within the touchscreen are improved for ease of use and response time.
Servicing and updating your FCA vehicle has never been easier. In-vehicle messaging will notify owners when an oil change is needed. This and other features work in harmony with the Vehicle Health Report and Vehicle Health Alert to provide the most up-to-date information. For some updates, FOTA will automatically load the improved software to the vehicle, seamlessly. Other services can be handled at your local dealer with a Service Scheduling feature.
Uconnect’s Android operating system brings to access to a broad catalog of connected features and the adaptability preps the platform for future growth. In planning for additional automated technology, the all-new Uconnect system takes autonomous driving initiatives into consideration for future products with the addition of a Telematics Box Module (TBM). The TBM assists in quickly moving large amounts of data, engineered for the fastest speeds available. The trusted and secure ecosystem provides an optimal environment for continuous improvement through a built-in cellular network.
The new Uconnect 5 infotainment system, should make its debut on certain 2021 model vehicles.