The convergence of the auto and tech industries makes something like Fiat Chrysler integrating their Uconnect system with Google’s Android operating system seem pretty logical, and that’s exactly what they will be showing off at CES this year. While Android is open-source and Fiat Chrysler could simply pick up the code and start working it into their Uconnect system, they want integration to be just a little bit deeper than that, and will be working hand in hand with Google to make it happen. The new Uconnect system is actually a custom skin, albeit a very heavy one, on top of Android 7.0 Nougat. This means that the whole thing will run Android code at its core for easy maintenance, and will be fully compatible with Android apps.
The new Uconnect system will boast all of the usual features, built on top of a very customized Android version. In-vehicle comfort systems, music, radio, and other controls will all be accessible through the new system, and it will also be fully compatible with the wide world of Android apps, though limitations will probably be in place to prevent distracted driving. Fiat Chrysler’s press release on the matter did not mention Google Play by name, so it’s unknown whether Android’s biggest app store will be on board; of course, a more customized offering is likely, due to the aforementioned distracted driving concerns.
This is far from Google and Fiat Chrysler’s first rodeo. Not only has Fiat Chrysler worked to enable the use of Android Auto in some of their vehicles in the past, but Google has worked with them to create self-driving Chrysler Pacifica units on a prototype basis. These new Pacifica units have made a permanent place for themselves in Google’s Waymo testing fleet. Google and Fiat Chrysler’s work together thus far has proven quite revolutionary, and is one of the big alliances between the tech world and the auto world that has produced some interesting industry advances. Uconnect running on Android will be on show at CES, for those who are attending the event and would like a closer look at the fruits of this latest colloboration.