Fiat Chrysler (FCA) today announced the newest version of its infotainment system for cars, Uconnect 5. The new system adds tons of new features for future Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Fiat vehicles, including integrated Alexa support, improved over-the-air firmware updates, and support for wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The core of Uconnect 5 is completely new hardware: the Atlantis architecture, replacing the previous Powernet one, combined with a switch over to a heavily skinned version of Android on the software side of things. The new Atlantis hardware is much more powerful, featuring a better processor, 6GB of RAM, and up to 64GB of flash memory, plus support for larger and higher-resolution displays (up to 12.3 inches and UHD resolution). FCA says that the improvements should make the new Uconnect 5 systems up to five times faster compared to the old system.
The new software promises better over-the-air firmware updates, too, which is something that’s been an issue in the past for FCA. The company ran into trouble last year with OTA Uconnect updates. Some firmware updates can be done seamlessly in the background, while others will require customers to head to a dealership.
FCA has previously supported Amazon’s Alexa assistant before through an Alexa skill, allowing customers to do things like start their cars or lock their doors using an Amazon Echo. Uconnect 5 takes it a step further by adding native Alexa support to the car itself (sort of like a built-in Echo Auto) for controlling music, sports or weather updates, and more.
Like a built-in Echo Auto
Uconnect 5 will also work better with smartphones. You’ll be able to connect two phones simultaneously now for users who have multiple phones for personal and work use or just like fighting over who gets to pick the music. There’s also support for wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, assuming your phone supports it. FCA is supporting integrated 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hot spot capabilities with Uconnect 5, allowing customers to make purchases through the car’s interface for gas, takeout orders, and maintenance at dealerships.
Lastly, Uconnect 5 adds multiple user profiles, making it easier to preconfigure personal settings for radio settings, air conditioning, and mirror and seat placement for multiple drivers to switch between.
FCA hasn’t announced which cars will be getting Uconnect 5, although the new hardware system means that the new features likely won’t be available on older models as a software update. FCA plans to roll it out on new vehicles later this year.