FCA jumps on the CarPlay/Android Auto bandwagon with its 4th-gen Uconnect system

Chrysler Uconnect Apple CarPlay
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced the newest version of its Uconnect infotainment system at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Among the headlines for this fourth-generation system is the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

FCA joins Detroit rivals General Motors and Ford, which also used CES to announce the inclusion of CarPlay and Android Auto. The systems add a layer of device-specific functionality and content to the infotainment systems developed by the carmakers themselves. They allow drivers to use a car’s built-in controls for smartphone functions like sending text messages, accessing music, and looking up directions.

The fourth-generation Uconnect system will feature a few other upgrades, including capacitive touchscreens, heightened touchscreen responsiveness and resolution, greater processing power, and faster startup. CarPlay and Android Auto will be offered with the 8.4-inch system and “select others,” according to Chrysler. The upgraded systems will roll out later this year.

FCA will also launch a new police-specific version of Uconnect on the 2016 Dodge Charger Pursuit. This system features a substantial 12.1-inch central touchscreen that Chrysler says is more than five times larger than previous versions. It will display radio and vehicle controls, and will include a menu option to toggle to a police computer display.

Looking forward, FCA’s CES display will include a “technology concept” meant to preview future in-car tech, alongside the production Uconnect systems. Some of those potential future gizmos include a “workload manager” that identifies when a driver needs to concentrate more, and prioritizes information accordingly, “privacy mode” that moves personal information to the driver’s display when a passenger is present, and and “intelligent concierge” that learns the driver’s various preferences.

Chrysler also hopes to make use of “vehicle-to-X” communication technology, which uses a Wi-Fi-like medium to allow cars to “talk” to each other and surrounding infrastructure. Potential uses for this tech could include “community tagging” that allows vehicles to warn each other of hazardous situations, a “follow-me mode” that lets drivers request to follow other vehicles, and an augmented-reality head-up display that helps assist the driver.

Product Review

Audi's new A8 is so sophisticated and serene, it practically deletes potholes

The 2019 Audi A8’s outline looks promising: Level 3 autonomous driving capability, haptic-feedback infotainment screens, rear-wheel steering, Matrix LED headlights and OLED taillights, plus a predictive suspension.
Emerging Tech

You’re so vein: Palm-based biometric system could help confirm your identity

Move over, Face ID! The next biometric security systems could rely on analyzing the unique vein patterns in your palm print. Here are some of the ways the technology could prove useful.

Porsche’s all-electric Taycan sedan will cost less than a Panamera

Porsche's Mission E concept won't change much as it transitions to a production model named Taycan that's scheduled to arrive in 2019. That means the sedan will keep the sleek design and its 800-volt charging system.

'4WD' or 'AWD'? Which setup is right for you?

Although four-wheel drive (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) are related, they are actually quite different in how they operate. Here, we talk about the fundamental differences between the two systems, and what it means for you as a driver.

Heads up, George Jetson: Terrafugia starts taking orders for its flying car

The Terrafugia Transition flying car will go on sale next year, roughly a decade after the first prototype rolled out of its hangar. Terrafugia promises improvements, including a hybrid powertrain, to make up for the long wait.

At 503 mph, Turbinator II is the world’s fastest wheel-driven vehicle

The Turbinator II is a four-wheel drive streamliner powered by a 5,000-horsepower helicopter engine, and it just achieved 503.332 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats. That's an unofficial record for a wheel-driven car.

Lyft has a new fixed-price subscription plan for frequent passengers

Lyft wants you to save money by using rideshare services instead of owning a car. The new Lyft All-Access Plan monthly rideshare trip subscription includes 30 rides a month with a small discount for additional trips.

Could the next Mazda3 boast a fuel-saving breakthrough in engine tech?

Mazda released a teaser video that likely previews the next Mazda3. Expected to make its global debut at the L.A. auto show, the next 3 will wear a more curvaceous design and offer one of the most advanced engines in the automotive…

Workhorse takes on diesel with lighter, cheaper NGEN-1000 electric delivery van

Ohio-based Workhorse Group claims its new NGEN-1000 electric delivery van costs the same as a conventional diesel van and can haul a similar amount of cargo. A lower curb weight makes this possible.

Forget transponders with Peasy’s nationwide pay-as-you-go toll service

Verra Mobility launched Peasy, a consumer highway and bridge toll payment service. Designed to be less hassle than managing traditional transponder or toll tag accounts, Peasy pays tolls as they are levied across most of the U.S.

Just 10 people will get to put this limited-edition Audi R8 in their garages

The 2018 Audi R8 V10 Plus Competition makes use of Audi's motor sports experience to turn up the performance dial. Decreased weight and increased aerodynamic downforce make this R8 a track monster.

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are 25 of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.

Tesla keeps promise with more affordable Model 3 with midrange battery pack

Tesla is keeping its promise of making the Model 3 gradually more affordable. The company released a new variant of the car with a mid-range, 260-mile battery option that's priced under the $50,000 mark.

The snake escapes: Ford’s 700-hp Mustang GT500 slithers online ahead of schedule

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 will return in 2019 with over 700 horsepower, Ford confirmed at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. The GT500 will be the most powerful Ford production car ever.