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10 January 2017

Car makers extend their wireless partnerships

Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) and Alphabet’s new Waymo division announced a partnership to work on an Android-based reboot of FCA’s Uconnect operating system – possibly the first iteration of a complete version of Android for vehicles.

FCA also showed off its new concept autonomous vehicle, Portal, at CES. It has worked with the Panasonic Automotive Advanced Engineering team to create a user experience with facial recognition and voice biometric software, to identify who is in the vehicle at any one point to customize the environment for them with music, lighting, vehicle temperature, heated or cooled seats and so on. The experience is powered by Panasonic’s Cognitive Infotainment (PCI) platform, which will be trying to eat into an AI-driven market currently led by Google and IBM.

Ford is integrating its Sync IVI system with Samsung Gear S2 and S3, so that wearable owners can be given notifications, such as parking alerts, by their car.

Ford has also implemented high speed in-car WiFi hotspots into its 2017 models, powered by AT&T’s LTE service. The Sync Connect system can allow up to 10 connected devices in any one car.

Mercedes will integrate Google Assistant into its 2017 models and expects to see customers communicate with their cars through Google Home, in a similar way to Ford’s Amazon Alexa-based system (see separate item).