Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Google have teamed up to create a new Uconnect infotainment system based on Android Nougat.
A hands-on demonstration of the new 8.4-inch Uconnect concept system in a Chrysler 300 will be available at the FCA exhibit during CES 2017, Jan. 5–8.
Unlike the Android Auto platform, FCA said in a press release that the new connected car system is built on the Android Open Source Platform, providing complete access to “Google Assistant, Google Maps and popular Android apps like Pandora, Spotify, NPR One and Pocket Casts.”
As the Android-based platform is open-source, automakers can customize it however they like, allowing them to make the User Interface (UI) fit their brand image with unique design elements and display types. This ability to customize the user interface of infotainment systems is vital to carmakers – it is seen as an extension of the car brand itself.
Android “offers automakers user interface customization, a full-featured automotive infotainment stack and ability to integrate Android apps into the vehicle’s infotainment system,” FCA said in a statement.
“This collaboration with Google has been an extremely beneficial opportunity for both companies to explore how in-vehicle infotainment and connectivity technology continues to evolve, and what it takes to meet consumers’ increasing desire for innovation of information with minimal distraction,” said Chris Barman, Head of Electrical Engineering at FCA.
“With Android, we are able to maintain our unique and intuitive Uconnect user interface, all while integrating our easy-to-use systems with Android’s features and ecosystem of applications.”
Patrick Brady, Director of Android Engineering at Google, commented:
“Google is committed to building Android as a turn-key automotive platform that integrates deeply with the vehicle in a safe and seamless way.
“This collaboration with FCA brings together the industry standard for connected car systems with Android to create powerful infotainment systems designed for the digital age.”