Google, FCA Test-Drive New Open Source Infotainment System

Google, FCA Test-Drive New Open Source Infotainment System

Google and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles this week showcased a new in-auto infotainment platform at CES in Las Vegas. The open source system combines Uconnect with Android Auto.

The companies demonstrated their concept design inside a Chrysler 300 sedan at the show. The new system is built around Android 7.0, or Nougat, and an 8.4-inch Uconnect system.

The integration of Android and Uconnect enables a system built for connectivity and compatibility with the universe of popular Android applications. The demo highlighted integration with Google Assistant, Google Maps, and popular Android apps including Pandora, Spotify, NPR One and Pocket Casts.

The latest version of Android Auto includes core infotainment features such as radio and comfort controls.

The concept infotainment platform is separate from the companies’ self-driving car project, dubbed “Waymo.” That project involves deploying Google’s autonomous vehicle technology to a fleet of 100 Chrysler Pacifica minivans.

The hybrid concept system goes beyond Google’s Android Auto system released in 2015. Android Auto allows mobile devices running Android to operate in automobiles through the dashboard’s head unit.

The digital technology breakthrough may steer car makers away from non-open source in-car solutions, suggested Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“The computerization of automobiles has been progressing rapidly, but less clear has been the process through which automakers will embrace digital entertainment,” he told LinuxInsider. “Major players, particularly Apple, have been moving in that direction — but there have been suggestions that automakers would prefer to avoid highly proprietary technologies and platforms.”


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