August 7, 2012
Chrysler, Sprint team up to offer new Uconnect infotainment features
Features coming for '13 models include hands-free texting
Acme, Mich.— Chrysler Group LLC said Monday it has partnered with Sprint to provide embedded wireless services for Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system that will be available in the 2013 Ram 1500 pickup and SRT Viper models in fall.
The embedded wireless capability will give Chrysler's Uconnect new features, including voice-recognition capabilities so drivers can compose a text message or enter navigation destinations in a single step. They can hit a button to directly reach a 911 dispatcher. It will also give passengers the ability to connect their laptop or smartphones to the vehicle's Wi-Fi.
"It is basically providing a hot spot on wheels,"
said Marios Zenios, head of Uconnect systems and services for Chrysler. Uconnect provides users with communication, entertainment, navigation and telematics services.
Zenios said the partnership with Sprint was reached after Chrysler talked with other wireless carriers, telematics companies and Internet companies.
Chrysler said it chose Sprint for its telematics platform and reliable network, among other factors. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
Chrysler expects to announce packages available for consumers to buy to use the features closer to the vehicle launch dates, Zenios said.
Sprint said as a nontraditional auto vendor, it can bring Chrysler new ideas for in-vehicle connectivity.
"When we look at the automotive industry, when we look at the car, we see another smartphone," said Matt Carter, president of wholesale and emerging solutions at Sprint. "And what we're really good at is really innovating customer experiences, devices, underlying platforms and bringing all of those together to create the kind of customer experience that we hope leads toward responsible driving for the passenger and driver."
The new system will give drivers and passengers the ability to search point-of-interest sites through Bing. Passengers can use the service while the vehicle is in motion and a driver can use the service on the smart radio while parked, Zenios said. It also will work if drivers or passengers have a cellphone carrier other than Sprint.
Chrysler said there will be a pay-per-use or demand charge for Wi-Fi use in the vehicle.
Sprint's embedded network also is capable of locking or unlocking a vehicle, much like General Motors Co.'s OnStar service.
Sprint says it is working to boost data speed and provide easier connectivity.
Zenios said Chrysler is considering rolling out the enhanced Uconnect services on other vehicles.
"We're going to listen to the customers, get feedback, what's right, what's wrong," he said.
From The Detroit News: Chrysler, Sprint team up to offer new Uconnect infotainment features | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com