LEIPER’S FORK, TN –rolls out remote emergency and roadside-assistance services in two vehicles this fall, a move signaling the steady growth of the auto maker’s connectivity platform.
’s Uconnect telematics service, boosted by wireless partner Sprint, introduces the technology on the ’13 Ram 1500 and ’13 SRT Viper. Like ’ OnStar, it is accessed by the touch of a button and will be offered at a subscription rate, the cost of which has yet to be announced.
“We’re not in a race with our (applications),” Joni Christensen, a Uconnect brand spokeswoman, tells WardsAuto during a media drive here. “We want to be able to serve up our apps when they’re ready.”
Uconnect is accessed through two separate buttons on the rearview mirror. One dials 911 in case of emergencies, reaching local emergency services using a 3G connection built into the vehicle’s radio connectivity platform, provided by Sprint.
It taps into a Public Safety Answering Point and sets up a voice call with a dispatcher, while the vehicle’s GPS coordinates are sent remotely to emergency service providers. The 911 button can be used in most any situation, from driver distress to emergencies concerning other drivers.
The second button connects drivers to a call center for roadside assistance, vehicle care and troubleshooting the vehicle’s Uconnect service. Although it’s nicknamed “concierge,” unlike GM’s OnStar, representatives can’t help the driver find a place for lunch or locate the nearest gas station.
Chrysler representatives decline to say whether the technology will be carried over to future vehicles, although it’s a safe bet it will find its way in other models after the ’13 Ram arrives in dealerships this fall.
The auto maker has taken steps to globalize its Uconnect systems with parent’s brands in Europe and Asia. Fiat currently uses Blue&Me, a Microsoft-based infotainment system.
Engineers on both sides of the Atlantic are “taking the best from Uconnect and the best from Blue&Me” to develop a worldwide platform, meaning some aspects from both platforms will (be discontinued) in future models, Christensen says. “It’s really the trade-off of what’s the most important features.”