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FCA and Google collaborate on a Uconnect system concept powered by Android OS

FCA is collaborating with Google on next-generation connected car systems enabled by the power of an open platform and the ecosystem of the Android open-source operating system. At CES 2017 this week, FCA and Google will demonstrate a seamless integration of the Uconnect 8.4-inch connected vehicle system with Android inside a Chrysler 300 sedan.

CES attendees will be able to get one-on-one demonstrations of the Uconnect system powered by the latest version of Android, 7.0 Nougat, which includes core infotainment features such as radio and comfort controls. (This is quite different than Android Auto, which basically uses an Android smartphone to broadcast the Android interface onto the supporting car’s touchscreen.)


Top: Android system architecture. The application framework is used most often by application developers. Many APIs map directly to the underlying HAL (hardware abstraction layer) interfaces. The HAL defines a standard interface for hardware vendors to implement and allows Android to be agnostic about lower-level driver implementations. The HAL allows developers to implement functionality without affecting or modifying the higher level system.

Bottom:The vehicle HAL and Android automotive architecture. This vehicle HAL is the interface for developing Android Automotive implementations. Many car subsystems interconnect with each other and the in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system via various bus topologies. The exact bus type and protocols vary widely between manufacturers (and even between different vehicle models of the same brand); examples include Controller Area Network (CAN) bus, Local Interconnect Network (LIN) bus, Media Oriented Systems Transport (MOST), as well as automotive-grade Ethernet and TCP/IP networks such as BroadR-Reach. Android’s HAL that provides a consistent interface to the Android framework regardless of physical transport layer.

Click to enlarge.

Android is an open source software stack for a wide range of mobile devices and a corresponding open source project led by Google. Third-party developers can create custom variants of the Android stack, port devices and accessories to the Android platform, and ensure devices meet compatibility requirements.

The Uconnect and Android integration also enable a system that is built for connectivity and compatibility with the universe of popular Android applications. The demonstration will show a seamless integration with Google Assistant, Google Maps and popular Android apps like Pandora, Spotify, NPR One and Pocket Casts.

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.

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.

—Chris Barman, Head of Electrical Engineering, FCA

Google is committed to building Android as a turn-key automotive platform that integrates deeply with the vehicle in a safe and seamless way.

—Patrick Brady, Director of Android Engineering, Google


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