Today at CES, Fiat Chrysler announced that their UConnect infotainment systems would be getting Android Auto and CarPlay support in 2016. This addition to their next-generation, built-in display comes on the tail of Ford’s announcement yesterday to do the same.
Chrysler hasn’t released many details on this yet, but they are saying that this implementation will come on their 4th generation 8.4-inch UConnect systems. They are also planning Android Auto and CarPlay integration on “select other” systems. These advancements will include a capacitive touch interface on higher resolution screens as well as general performance improvements across the board.
The basic idea is to give drivers access to their smartphone’s content in a way that is as intuitive and undistracting as possible. With texting-while-driving becoming an ever-increasing concern for motorists and pedestrians alike, technologies involving voice commands and simpler user interfaces are a pretty hot topic. Android Auto and iPhone’s equivalent CarPlay are both attempts to make the division between vehicle and smartphone thinner and safer.
Now, the Fiat Chysler alread has one of the best ‘infotainment’ systems available, so this announcement is more of a nice perk than it is a revolution. Still, with smartphones becoming more and more an integral part of our lives, it’s no surprise that vehicle manufacturers are wanting to incorporate these devices with their product.
In the 90’s, the advertising slogan “You are what you drive” resonated with millions, but over the early 2000’s, we witnessed a shift away from this automotive self-identification. While “You are what you browse Facebook on” is nowhere near as catchy, our smartphones have become a part of our individual identities in a way that vehicles can’t compete with. They store our thoughts, memories, conversations, work… maybe an unseemly picture or two. I mean, if stealing a smartphone is literally identity theft, then you don’t have to make much of an argument for how much these little devices are a part of our selves. Chrysler and other vehicle manufacturers are looking to bring some of that identity back to automotives.
What do you think of Fiat Chrysler’s UConnect Android Auto and CarPlay integration? Let us know in the comments below!