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Chrysler Uconnect gets dealer-activated navigation, new infotainment features

Posted Jan 7th 2013 8:30AM

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Get in just about any mid-level Chrysler product these days, and you'll see a touchscreen head unit that would be perfect for a navigation system. The only thing is that some of these cars equipped with the head unit for Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system were not optioned up with navigation at the time of purchase, leaving drivers looking for turn-by-turn directions relying on either an aftermarket nav system or a smartphone. Starting on select new Chrysler products, however, customers with Uconnect will now be able to upgrade to navigation as a dealer-activated option.

Announced at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, this new element of Uconnect will allow owners to have an in-dash navigation system installed quickly and easily; Chrysler said that this will be a major benefit for used-car buyers. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like this system will be retroactive on previous Uconnect head units, but it will launch this year on the 2013 Ram 1500, 2013 SRT Viper and the 2014 Fiat 500L. Chrysler did not announce the expected MSRP to have dealers activate the navigation capabilities.

Another infotainment option for Chrysler buyers is the Uconnect Access system that can allow WiFi, voice text messaging, emergency assistance, remote vehicle operation (such as starting the engine or locking/unlocking the doors) and limited POI searches using Bing. Also introduced at CES, the new Uconnect Access via Mobile system builds on this by allowing users to add in-car apps such as iHeart Radio, Pandora and Slacker by connecting to the system via a smartphone. This system will first be offered on the 2013 Ram and Viper.

For more information about Chrysler's Uconnect system announced at CES, check out the press release posted after the jump.

Chrysler Group's Uconnect Launches Industry-First Dealer-Activated Navigation System
  • Factory-installed navigation system activated by dealer days, weeks, months or years after vehicle purchase – an industry-first
  • Accommodates voice commands for destination entry; responds with turn-by-turn audio and visual cues
  • Eliminates dashboard clutter incurred with portable devices

Las Vegas, Nev , Dec 7, 2013 - The growing importance of navigation systems is not lost on Chrysler Group. Accordingly, the company has unleashed the power of its celebrated Uconnect system to accommodate customers seeking a change in direction. In an industry-first, Chrysler Group dealers can activate navigation functions in vehicles equipped with certain Uconnect systems. Uconnect offers navigation capability, but not all customers choose the option at the time of sale.

"Sometimes customers don't realize what they want until they need it," says Marios Zenios, Vice President- Uconnect Systems and Services. "That's fine. We can help. With dealer-activated navigation, we are adopting a 'no-customer-left-behind' attitude." Dealer-activated navigation, featured here at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, makes its debut this year. It will be initially available on the 2013 Ram 1500 full-size pickup, SRT Viper and the 2014 Fiat 500L.

Because the necessary hardware already is resident in the vehicle, dealer-activated navigation affords a major convenience over portable devices, which create clutter and require charging or smartphone data plans – or both.

Dealer-activated navigation boasts the same map data as pre-ordered systems, including:
  • Points of interest
  • Junction views
  • Lane guidance
  • Speed-limit information
  • Intersection zoom
  • Trip programming

In addition, dealer-activated navigation features turn-by-turn audio instructions to further encourage drivers to keep their focus on the task at hand – driving. Dealer-activated navigation bodes particularly well for used-car buyers, Zenios says.

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Uconnect Access Via Mobile Amps Up Chrysler Group's In-Vehicle Connectivity
  • Introducing Uconnect Access Via Mobile – the upgradeable app enabler
  • Delivers wide range of rich Internet radio content
  • Personalization capacity enhances vehicle ownership experience
  • Complements Chrysler Group's acclaimed Uconnect Access system

Las Vegas, Jan 7, 2013 - Chrysler Group is pumping up the volume for 2013 by adding Internet radio capability to its acclaimed Uconnect Access suite of in-vehicle features. Introducing Uconnect Access Via Mobile, which builds on the Uconnect brand's philosophy of sensible connectivity management to accommodate in-vehicle enjoyment of popular Internet Radio apps.

"The Uconnect team at Chrysler Group is committed to delivering connectivity solutions that enable drivers to further enjoy the in-vehicle experience without compromising the task at hand, which is driving," says Marios Zenios, Vice President-Uconnect Systems and Services. "Our introduction of Uconnect Access Via Mobile is consistent with this goal."

Uconnect Access Via Mobile, featured here at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, arrives this year. Vehicle applications will be revealed closer to launch.

The new feature – which accommodates updates – integrates Aha, iHeart Radio, Pandora Internet Radio or Slacker Radio apps with the vehicle's Uconnect Access system. Content is streamed through the customer's existing smartphone data plan, leveraging the high-quality sound systems featured in all Chrysler Group vehicles equipped with Uconnect Access.

Content personalization is easy. With Pandora, for instance, drivers can register their preferences by hitting the app's familiar buttons – "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" – which are displayed on the touch screen.

Similarly, with Slacker Radio, favorites can be identified using the "Heart" button. And tunes that try a customer's patience can be blocked using the "Ban" button.

iHeartRadio users can personalize their listening experience by saving their favorites in "My Stations" and using iHeartRadio's exclusive Discovery Tuner to control variety.

In addition, steering-wheel controls enable song-skipping.

Apart from the functionality of Uconnect Access Via Mobile, the apps themselves enrich the ownership experience by bringing into the vehicle their own distinctive menus of information and entertainment:

Aha™ by HARMAN
Aha makes it easy to instantly access more than 30,000 stations of audio content including leading internet music services, internet radio, news, entertainment, audiobooks, Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds, customized "Hungry," and "Coffee," stations, weather and more. Aha continually adds and curates new stations and content spanning from mainstream to niche. With so much content to choose from, Aha offers something for everyone.

iHeartRadio
iHeartRadio, Clear Channel's all-in-one, digital music service is now specifically designed for use in-vehicle with in-dash integration, providing safe and easy access for users to listen to their favorite stations from across the country as well as create their own custom stations. With more than 15 million songs and the top live radio stations in America, iHeartRadio features more music backed by better music programming including the expertise of Clear Channel's leading radio programmers to give users the best custom radio experience available.

Pandora®
Pandora gives people music they love anytime, anywhere. Personalized radio stations launch instantly, with the input of a favorite artist, song, comedian or musical genre. The Music Genome Project®, a deeply detailed, hand-built musical taxonomy, powers the personalization of Pandora by using musicological "DNA" and constant listener feedback to craft personalized stations from a growing collection of more than a million tracks.

Slacker
Slacker is one of the most complete music service on Earth. Enjoy millions of songs and hundreds of expertly-programmed stations on demand, online, on mobile and now through Uconnect Access via Mobile.

Uconnect Access Via Mobile represents a significant enhancement to Uconnect Access, a system already celebrated by industry watchers as the benchmark for responsible in-vehicle connectivity.

Launched on the 2013 Ram 1500 full-size pickup and the SRT Viper supercar, it features embedded wireless technology. The resulting conveniences are empowering, from one-touch 9-1-1 calling to remote doorlocking/unlocking.

The in-vehicle hands-free communication system affords fully integrated cloud-based voice-recognition technology that enables Voice Texting – the transmission of original text messages via natural speech – via Bluetooth-equipped smartphones that use the industry-standard Message Access Protocol (MAP).

The same capability also supports an upgraded navigation system that accepts one-step voice-commands for destination entry, as well as voice-driven Internet searching through which vehicle occupants can locate points of interest. And once identified, a hands-free call can be placed to the POI and/or the POI can be immediately input as a nav-system destination.

Chrysler Uconnect on 2013 Ram 1500

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