FCA launches new Uconnect 5

FCA’s latest UConnect system promises even better multimedia usability

FCA launches new Uconnect 5

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has announced its latest version of the Uconnect multimedia system, due to role out later this year.

With modern drivers demanding greater connectivity and smartphone integration than ever before, getting a car’s multimedia platform right is a big deal. FCA has found that 51 percent of buyers take such technology into account when choosing a new vehicle. 

For Uconnect 5 FCA is promising a better overall user experience, aided by hardware that offers processing speeds up to five times faster than at present. 

Easier smartphone integration options

FCA launches new Uconnect 5

With the lines between car and smartphone systems increasingly blurred, one of the big changes for Uconnect 5 is wireless integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

At present 80 percent of FCA’s vehicles in North America feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but the new Uconnect system will take this total to 100 percent coverage. 

FCA notes that two phones will be able to simultaneously use Uconnect, potentially reducing (or inflaming) arguments over who gets to pick the music on road trips. 

Bigger screens with a personal touch

FCA launches new Uconnect 5

Uconnect 5 itself makes use of a new Android operating system, delivered with more internal memory and faster response times for the larger 12.3-inch touchscreen.

FCA states that new bigger screen options can be mounted in both portrait or landscape fitments, with individual FCA brands able to tailor exactly how the screen looks in specific models.

Ultra HD screen technology is said to further improve the user experience, whilst drivers will be able to tailor the Uconnect home screen to their personal taste. 

“Alexa, fire up the Hellcat”

FCA launches new Uconnect 5

Greater use of the Amazon Alexa ‘Uconnect skill’ will also be offered, giving drivers more options on how to use Alexa. Unlocking doors and remotely starting the vehicle will be possible from Alexa-enabled devices in the home for Uconnect 5 users. 

In car, Alexa will be integrated directly into Uconnect 5, meaning drivers can ask the same questions of Alexa that they would at home. This includes getting weather updates, checking the news, requesting traffic information, or just playing music and podcasts.

Key to this is improved voice recognition, with FCA promising that it will operate more naturally and responsively to commands. 

Updates across the airwaves 

FCA launches new Uconnect 5

For those who still rely on integrated satellite navigation, Uconnect 5 will feature an improved service provided by TomTom. This will include over-the-air map updates, directions to charging stations for electric vehicles, and even walking directions via the Uconnect smartphone app. 

FCA will also allow vehicle firmware to be updated remotely over-the-air, along with reminders about servicing and maintenance requirements. 

New models featuring Uconnect 5 are expected to be available later in 2020, although FCA has not yet confirmed which particular models are first in line.

Phone use tops list of drivers’ most infuriating habits

Drivers annoyed by phone drivers

New research has revealed what annoys British motorists most in 2019. While the usual bugbears of tailgating, not indicating and dangerous overtaking feature, mobile phone use behind the wheel is what tops the list.

The study by Kwik Fit found that using phone use is in the top five most annoying habits for 56 percent of the 2,003 drivers questioned. It leads tailgating (50 percent) and failing to indicate (49 percent).

Overall, the number of drivers being charged with a CU80 (using a phone while driving) offence fell by 19 percent between 2017 and 2018. However, closer analysis of DVLA data reveals the disparity in local regions. In Yorkshire, the number of drivers convicted rose by 22.6 percent in the same period. Kirklees, the borough around Huddersfield, saw an increase of 82 percent.

Drivers annoyed by phone drivers

West Yorkshire Police has been using double decker buses and unmarked HGVs to catch drivers in the act.

London, the South East and the North West saw the biggest drops, with 32.3 percent, 22.5 percent and 18.9 percent respectively.

“The research clearly shows that actions of other drivers which annoy us the most are those which put people’s safety at risk on the road,” said Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit.

“There is no excuse for using a handheld mobile phone when driving, whether it’s for a call, texting or checking social media. It’s vital for road safety that we make using the phone when driving as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving. Until we have fully autonomous vehicles, anything which diverts a driver’s attention from the road is a risk to their safety and those of the road users around them.”

Drivers annoyed by phone drivers

Habit in other motoristsProportion of drivers with it in their top five annoying habits
Using a mobile phone handset to talk / text

or use social media

Failing to indicate49%
Dangerous overtaking38%
Changing lane without indicating33%
Last-minute braking24%
Middle lane cruising / hogging24%
Hesitant driving18%
Jumping traffic lights18%
Ford SYNC 3 Apple CarPlay

CES 2016: Ford Sync gets Apple CarPlay, Android Auto at last

Ford SYNC 3 Apple CarPlayFord has finally installed Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into the latest version of its in-car infotainment system, Sync 3.

It’s a big deal. Ford says there are over 15 million Sync-equipped cars on the road. By 2020, there will be a staggering 43 million.

The long-awaited announcement at CES 2016 thus at last will allow Ford drivers to control their Apple and Android smartphone apps through the colour Sync touchscreen.

It means smartphone maps, messages, music and phone can all be controlled via the car – and it should also offer in-car access to additional apps such as Spotify.

The interface mirrors the smartphone’s too.

Rolling out this year on 2017 cars, for now it’s only on the latest Sync 3 system currently on sale in the United States: Europe still uses the older, fiddlier Sync 2 system.

Wait for a possible announcement at next month’s Worldwide Mobile Congress in Spain on that, hinted a spokesman…

Sync apps

Ford’s also launching a suite of apps for Sync 3, via a new Sync AppLink system.

In the US, this links to apps such as Eventseeker, which hunts down events that fit a user’s preassigned profile as they drive. Another app tracks fuel prices and plans a route to the cheapest.

Similarly smart apps are expected for European owners when the system is launched.

Ford’s proud of the Sync system, which it launched in 2007 as “the industry’s first system to widely and most affordably offer voice-activated technology to control smartphones”.

It’s grown and been honed a lot since then. And at last, now more fully links with the world’s two most widely used smartphone platforms.