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Fiat Chrysler commits to Android for connected vehicles

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has signed deals with Google and Samsung to power its connected vehicle ecosystem

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has undertaken to power its on-board Uconnect vehicle platform using technology from Google and Samsung to deliver enhanced connected vehicle capabilities across all its new vehicle models by 2022.

The enhancements to the Uconnect platform – which has been around since 2003 – will be powered by Google’s Android operating system (OS), bringing a proven and familiar app-based environment to drivers, with over the air (OTA) updates and faster interaction and integration with passenger devices.

The Uconnect system architecture will now be based on Samsung’s Harman Ignite cloud platform, which will securely manage internal and external data, delivering new features to drivers, such as predictive maintenance, customer care assistance, traffic news and location services for fuel or charging.

Drivers will also get 4G network connectivity and support for future 5G evolution, with the idea that, eventually, the system will be able to interact with smart city and smart highway infrastructure, and even household devices.

Future applications will also include an optimised technical and maintenance environment for FCA’s electrified vehicles, and features such as pay-by-the-mile, rental and car-sharing services, and usage-based insurance.

“By selecting industry leaders such as Samsung and Google, we are making an efficient and responsible utilisation of capital to provide advanced technological solutions to our customers worldwide,” said FCA chief technical officer Harald Wester.

“In collaboration with Harman-Samsung and Google, we have developed a flexible, easy-to-use and connected ‘ecosystem’ that not only deploys today’s technology, but is also ready to integrate upcoming innovations,” he said.

“The modern, in-vehicle experience must be designed for seamless connectivity and digital content, and provide an integrated, but familiar experience for the on-the-go consumer,” added Google’s vice-president of engineering, Patrick Brady.

“We are excited FCA will power its infotainment system with Android, providing its drivers with a reliable and rich environment ripe for app and content development,” said Brady.

Besides Chrysler and Fiat, FCA also owns the Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Lancia and Maserati brands, as well as the Dodge and Ram marques in the US. The group divested its luxury brand, Ferrari, in 2015.

FCA faced criticism over the security of its connected vehicle platform back in 2015, when it was forced to recall over a million vehicles in the US after security researchers demonstrated they were able to hack the infotainment system of a Jeep Cherokee and use it to control the vehicle’s dashboard functions, steering, brakes and transmission.

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