DETROIT — This year's rollout of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' latest Uconnect connected-vehicle platform will highlight an incongruous dynamic in the automaker's technology portfolio.
While FCA has lagged rivals in areas such as electrification and vehicle autonomy, the company by many accounts has been able to master one of the industry's most frustrating stumbling blocks: infotainment.
These in-vehicle systems have been a thorn in the side of automakers that have been routinely rapped in consumer surveys for annoyances from voice-recognition issues to Bluetooth connectivity hiccups. FCA's Uconnect, meanwhile, has been well received for its accessibility.
A key challenge for FCA was to build on that track record and avoid setbacks with the platform's fifth generation, which is based on the Android operating system.
Vince Galante, FCA's chief designer of user experience, described Uconnect 5 as an "evolution of what we have today."
"We didn't completely blow it up," he said.
At a preview of the technology at its U.S. headquarters in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, Mich., last week, FCA said Uconnect 5 will debut in a 2021 model this year. The next version will have processing speeds five times faster than its predecessor. In addition, a new feature will enable two Bluetooth phones to connect simultaneously.
This will aid users who carry multiple phones, FCA said. It will also allow passengers to interact with Uconnect along with the driver.