Photo: Uconnect / Credit: FCA
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has selected HARMAN (Samsung) and Google for its new global connected vehicle ecosystem — which will enhance the vehicles of FCA customers globally. And off-board, the system will promptly and securely manage in-vehicle and additional data using an architecture based on the HARMAN Ignite cloud-based platform.
As of right now, about 40% of Fiat’s fleet in the U.S. and Canada is connected, according to FCA spokesperson Ariel Gavilan via Detroit Free Press. The financial terms of the deal were undisclosed.
Uconnect is a connected vehicle platform that is built into Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and FIAT vehicles. And it provides advanced connectivity, entertainment, navigation, and communication services that are easy to use and helps customers stay focused on the road.
Uconnect originally arrived back in 2003 and going forward, it will be powered by Google Android. And the Uconnect system architecture will now be based on Samsung’s Harman Ignite cloud platform.
“By selecting industry leaders such as Samsung and Google, we are making an efficient and responsible utilization of capital to provide advanced technological solutions to our customers worldwide,” said FCA CTO Harald J. Wester in a statement. “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.”
This system will deliver enhanced user experiences that will assist owners by predicting maintenance needs, locating fueling/charging stations, receiving traffic prompts, restaurant offers, and providing live customer-care assistance at the push of a button. Plus vehicles will be able to receive over-the-air (OTA) software updates — which ensures owners will benefit from new capabilities.
“HARMAN Ignite and our award-winning OTA are essential ingredients of the future of connected cars and we are thrilled to partner with FCA on building their global ecosystem. With these new technologies, HARMAN and Samsung offer a whole new level of customized and personalized services benefitting OEMs like FCA, consumers and enterprises in the growing car share industry in an unprecedented way,” added HARMAN CEO and president Dinesh C Paliwal.
The global platform will offer owners 4G network connectivity and support 5G evolution. And it is homologated for all regions and will integrate with any service provider around the world. The off-board system also has the ability to interact with future smart cities’ infrastructure along with household devices through Samsung’s “Smart Things” platform. Plus vehicle owners, dealers, fleet operators, and service providers will benefit from the features that are delivered through the new cloud-based connectivity.
“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,” explained Google VP 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.”
The new onboard system will be powered by Android — which offers a strong, proven, and intuitive app-based environment that provides fresh content via OTA updates. And it also has fast interaction and seamless wireless integration with the customer’s mobile devices. And the trusted and secure system will offer owners continuous innovation and will feature updates through a built-in cellular network. This enables capabilities like autonomous driving initiatives, electrification, and connected services.
This connected ecosystem is going to provide an optimal technical environment for FCA electrified vehicles with applications like remote battery management, smart EV trip navigator, and vehicle-to-grid services. And this technology will support the FCA Mobility Services portfolio with features like pay-by-the-mile options, usage-based vehicle insurance, short-, medium- and long-term vehicle rental and peer-to-peer car sharing solutions like the U-Go system — which was recently launched by Leasys in Europe.
The key components of this system will begin rolling out in phases across global regions during the second half of 2019. And new FCA vehicles will be connected by 2022.