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Auto Show : 2013 Ces

Chrysler Uconnect: 2012 CES

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author photo by Colin Ryan

Chrysler has announced a new website dedicated to its Uconnect in-car infotainment setup: www.driveuconnect.com. "Chrysler Group has a variety of technologies available that help consumers stay connected while driving our vehicles in a safe manner," said Marios Zenios, head of Uconnect systems, "so they can keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road." This site is designed to provide a helping hand in understanding and using those features.

Visitors to the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas are able to play around with touchscreens, use navigation options like locating points of interest, and listen to the sound systems on offer from Alpine, Harmon Kardon and Beats by Dr. Dre.

They can also play the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 video game on a huge 12-foot screen while admiring the real-life version of the special-edition 2012 Jeep Wrangler that appears in the game. The highest score of each show day during a five-minute game wins a set of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, which normally cost the best part of $200.

"This is a hands-on display," said Joni Christensen of Chrysler. "And all the Uconnect technology is easy to learn. It's the most usable breakthrough technology."

What Sync is to Ford (where upgraded audio systems come from Sony), Uconnect is to Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram. So we're dealing with voice commands for various functions including making phone calls, selecting what artist to hear and giving the navigation system a destination.

There's also the possibility of using Wi-Fi to link with the internet. Passengers in the rear seats can upload photos, play video games, use email and watch YouTube. "Anything that can be done on the web can now be done in the car," said Chrysler.

Regarding the satellite radio feature, parents can control what gets broadcast into the cabin, users may be alerted for sports fixtures, there's traffic and weather updates, and also a song tagging function - where a song may be "earmarked" to be downloaded at a later time.

Granted, a lot of this technology has been around for a while. But to get it all in one package is a step forward for the Chrysler Group. And the market is fast approaching the point where most carmakers are obliged to offer features along these lines.

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Chrysler Uconnect: 2012 CES