Chrysler uconnect: An Orwellian Nightmare

Illustration for article titled Chrysler uconnect: An Orwellian Nightmare

The overriding theme for Chrysler’s Detroit Auto Show unveils seems to be the future and the latest fantasy is a frightening space-age version of Chrysler uconnect.


The Chrysler uconnect system of the future Imagines unprecedented levels of inter-vehicle connectedness and external monitoring of vehicle location, speed and driving patterns. It could bring with it new levels of communication and safety or, with a more critical reading, new levels of location and behavior monitoring and control. If you’re a teenager with strict parents we’d be afraid. Very afraid.

Of course, there are no details of when we can expect to see such a system, but our advice to you is to enjoy your freedom while you still have it. And yes, this all sounds a little too much like a bad SciFi movie to us, too. Some details in the press release below.

Future uconnect Features to Combine On-line and On-road Worlds

• Convenience: new levels of connecting the vehicle to the home and digital lifestyle
• Socialization: in-car social media capability to create “buddy vehicles” with technology similar to MySpace, Facebook and Twitter
• Synchronization: consumers can keep schedules, music, friends and life in synch, even when in their vehicle

The passion for state-of-the-art, transformational vehicle connectivity continues at Chrysler LLC as future uconnect technology expands to deliver unprecedented connectivity in the areas of convenience, socialization and synchronization; connecting consumers’ on-line and on-road environments in state-of-the-art fashion as consumers begin to treat their vehicles as their second home.

“Chrysler is already offering a wide and diverse portfolio of connectivity and infotainment features under its popular uconnect umbrella,” said Frank Klegon, Executive Vice President – Product Development, Chrysler LLC. “The future of uconnect will deliver a host of unique, trend-setting innovations that will ultimately provide unprecedented convenience to consumers.”

The advanced connectivity features focus on three primary areas: convenience, socialization and synchronization.


Personalized profile

Chrysler’s advanced connectivity system welcomes the driver, and operator-specific options display on-screen settings.

Settings include radio with audio tagging – allowing occupants to purchase music by clicking on the Mopar icon. Access to Internet radio, stored MP3s, seating position and temperature, are also featured.

Additionally, a “teen setting” can be placed on the vehicle to limit speed and warn the owner if the vehicle is being driven erratically or out of a specific range from home.

Navigation upgrade

A next-generation navigation system features a link to city-street cameras, allowing vehicle occupants to view traffic situations in specific intersections, roadways and airport security terminals in real-time.

Much like an aircraft navigation system, real-time weather data is available to the driver.

Additionally, this advanced system can anticipate fuel efficient routes and provide route recommendations to the driver.


Vehicle networking

Using a format similar to existing web sites such as Facebook and Twitter, other vehicles can be added to Chrysler’s system which links “buddy” vehicles. Among other capabilities, this feature can show vehicle locations of friends, share directions and music, and provide “instant messaging” capabilities. Drivers can also create their own vehicle networking systems.

Passenger PC

Hidden in the dashboard is a personal computer that neatly slides out for front-seat passenger use. This computer gives the front-seat passenger the ability to use the Internet, access the navigation system, run vehicle diagnostics and read the owner’s manual, among other capabilities. All Internet features are available, from video conferencing to checking restaurant reviews and making dinner reservations on Zagat’s from the vehicle. The personal computer can be passed from the front-seat passenger to passengers in the rear.


Home/office link

This feature adds a harmonious link between the vehicle and the home and office. System capabilities include monitoring home and office, adjusting home/office lighting, powering up home appliances and utilizing intercoms.

Cell phone fobs

This technology links a “smart” phone to the vehicle. The phone can be programmed to allow starting of the vehicle, adjust power windows and locks and set vehicle temperature.

In addition, an in-vehicle camera can monitor security of the vehicles.

In the event of a lost or stolen vehicle, the phone can disable the vehicle and locate it using satellite imaging.

Finally, the system can relay diagnostic information to the phone, keeping the owner apprised of vehicle systems, such as state of battery charge.

[Source: Chrysler]


I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Dave.