Uconnect 5 combines a new hardware system combined with a variation of Android software. According to FCA, Uconnect 5 operates up to five times more quickly than the previous iteration and will be kept up-to-date by software upgrades sent wirelessly to the car. FCA cars had already offered an Alexa skill, enabling drivers to ask an Alexa device at home to unlock the doors and start the car before they walked out of the house, for instance. The new system makes Alexa more than just an add-on, it turns the car into something of a mobile Echo smart speaker, with all of the same capabilities of one the driver has at home.
Voice technology has been improved in general for Uconnect 5, with a new microphone and voice recognition engine setup. There’s a native voice assistant in the cars that uses the car brand name as the wake word, meaning no buttons for activating that AI. A mix of Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram vehicles will sport the new infotainment system at some point this year, though the exact models and dates have not been announced.
Alexa and the car’s voice assistant may be baked into the car when it rolls into a dealership, but other voice assistants won’t be excluded. Uconnect 5 supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for those with the relevant smartphones, although activating them through the car requires pushing a button. The driver doesn’t have to pick just one platform either, as the new system allows users to run two phones at the same time. Even if everyone in the family all uses Alexa, there’s room for customization. Uconnect 5 allows drivers to set up multiple profiles, meaning each driver can have their account linked to their preferences for not only the radio pre-sets and temperature, but the seat and mirror configurations too.
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