Fiat Chrysler's collaboration with Google on in-car Android tech is bearing fruit. The car maker has unveiled an Android-based Uconnect 5 infotainment system that should help it keep up with an influx of modern tech. It includes personalization for up to five drivers, and an interface that takes better advantage of screen real estate with "cards" that provide fast access to features like your media or phone contacts. You can order food or pre-authorize fuel, too. However, some of the biggest changes lie underneath the surface -- this is as much about acknowledging the rapid evolution of car tech as anything else.
For one, you can expect over-the-air firmware updates to provide a steady stream of improvements. As with an increasing number of rival brands, you won't have to struggle to keep your car current. The underlying architecture is also billed as five times faster than before, and can handle screens up to 12.3 inches across at up to 15 megapixels (greater than 4K). And if you like voice control, there's a new recognition engine that supports natural voice commands with a "hey Chrysler" keyword.
You can expect wider support for many creature comforts. It brings built-in Alexa support, support for pairing two phones at once and wider compatibility with wireless versions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (100 percent of North American cars). Navigation will come from TomTom, which will supply traffic data, EV charger features and other services in an upgraded system that offers easier search, last-mile walking directions and over-the-air map updates.
Uconnect 5 will show up in vehicles later in 2020, although Fiat Chrysler hasn't said which ones will get first dibs. This will be a crucial improvement wherever it shows up, at least. In addition to acknowledging that cars are increasingly connected, the Android platform should help Fiat Chrysler transition to electric and hybrid cars, where this kind of modern interface is absolutely vital.