FCA’s Uconnect to adopt Apple CarPlay, Android Auto – Detroit Free Press
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said Monday that the fourth-generation version of its Uconnect infotainment system will include both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, making the Auburn Hills automaker the latest manufacturer to embrace the two systems.
The adoption of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will help the automaker catch up to a number of other rivals that have already begun to adopt the popular infotainment systems. General Motors and Hyundai were among the first to offer them; Ford announced earlier Monday it is also offering the systems. Like FCA, Ford will make them available about a year after Chevrolet.
The FCA news was announced in Las Vegas in conjunction with CES 2016, a huge electronics show increasingly being used by automakers to announce technology advancements. FCA said CarPlay and Android Auto will be included in Uconnect globally “in select models during 2016.”
A spokeswoman declined to say which models or how many models would get the two systems.
The automaker also said the new version of Uconnect will start faster, have more processing power, and touchscreens that are brighter and more responsive.
“The Uconnect team is evolving Uconnect and making it even better,” said Joni Christensen, head of Uconnect marketing for FCA.
The biggest change is adding CarPlay and Android Auto, which let drivers use their smartphones for navigation, music, phone calls and other functions safely while driving. They offer drivers a screen in the car that mimics the one on their phone, in addition to the proprietary systems carmakers spent years developing on their own.
While automakers have competed for at least a decade to develop the best, most intuitive navigation and communication systems, they recognize that many consumers simply want to be able to connect and use their phone with their car.
Autotrader.com, a car-shopping website, said 44% of customers surveyed would pay up to $1,499 for an in-vehicle concierge service such as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
“Technology is an important part of our lives and all of the major automakers are racing to integrate the latest and greatest features into their vehicles,” Brian Moody, executive editor at Autotrader, said in a report last month.
Several other auto brands, like Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Honda, Hyundai and Volkswagen already offer CarPlay or are in the process of adopting it.
In May, GM CEO Mary Barra announced the option of plugging either Google’s Android Auto or Apple CarPlay into the vehicle’s touchscreen would be available on 14 Chevrolet models beginning with the 2016 models that went on sale in late summer.
Ford also announced plans to adopt Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on Monday at CES. Ford said the systems will be offered in North America on all 2017 Ford vehicles equipped with Sync 3 and an upgrade will be available for 2016 models.
Apple CarPlay provides drivers with a smarter, safer way to make phone calls, access music, send and receive messages, get directions optimized for traffic conditions while staying focused on the road.
Android Auto automatically provides easy access to Google Maps with free voice-guided navigation, live traffic information, lane guidance, on-demand Google Play Music and the ability to place phone calls or send and receive messages while keeping your hands on the wheel.
Contact Brent Snavely: 313-222-6512 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BrentSnavely.