As automotive audio and navigation systems accelerate in their evolution, the initial feeble attempts of the manufacturers to recognise the massive sociological importance of the MP3, new media compatibility, in-car storage and a rapidly changing marketplace have not exactly been championed by mid-tier manufacturers. Chrysler Group announced a major step forward this week with the bundling of entertainment, information and communication into its new MyGIG multimedia head unit which combines navigation with real-time traffic, hands-free communication and multiple ways to save and play high-quality audio and images. You can rip music from the CD to the 20 gigabyte hard drive which has full Gracenote capability, a USB 2.0 interface and both voice (an advanced voice recognition system in English, French or Spanish that recognizes over 100,000 words) and 6.5-inch touch-screen control. The unit will be available first in the 2007 Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Nitro and Jeep Wrangler.
Chrysler Group’s first real-time traffic will utilize SIRIUS Satellite Radio broadcast capabilities to provide subscribers nationwide (where available) with updated traffic information. Offered as a premium service of the SIRIUS Satellite Radio subscription, SIRIUS traffic provides drivers with regularly updated traffic information such as accidents, scheduled road closings and traffic flow to help them select the best available route. The traffic information is integrated within the navigation system and displayed as an overlay on the navigation screen, thus combining navigation with traffic to offer guidance to the driver. This function will save customers frustration whether on their daily commutes or when traveling on unfamiliar roads.
The GPS navigation can use either touch-screen or voice-activated destination input. It has both 2-D and 3-D bird’s-eye views of roads and multiple route calculation. Maps and guidance appear on a 6.5-inch thin-film-transistor (TFT) display. The TFT screen is an active-matrix display that allows for viewing from angles up to 180 degrees — perfect for the center of an instrument panel.
Working in conjunction with a touch screen, the integrated voice dialogue system controls the audio, navigation and phone. Recognizing more than 100,000 words and being capable of learning and growing, it is specifically helpful with accents.
At 20 gigabytes, the MyGIG multimedia head unit enables hard-drive-based navigation, storage of photos and the ability to rip and store music downloaded from CD or USB memory device. An integrated music jukebox has industry first Gracenote music-file management to add song, artist and album information to the music files automatically. There’s space reserved on the hard drive for approximately 1,600 songs; that’s over 100 hours of music. There also is a voice-memo recorder feature. In addition to music, JPEG photos can be downloaded through the USB 2.0 port interface and viewed on the TFT screen. Customers even can use one of these photos to create a custom background for the radio display.
Providing extreme adaptability in the audio/video entertainment system, the MyGIG multimedia head unit supports three simultaneous audio-output sources and two simultaneous video-output sources. When the vehicle is in Park, the driver and front-seat passenger can watch video on the radio head-unit display. The system also has the ability to play and control DVD audio and video from either the head unit or an external DVD player.
Chrysler Group is the only company offering completely integrated audio, navigation, entertainment and hands-free communication in one system, controlled through voice commands and utilizing touch screen, with the capability of downloading photos and music to a hard drive from CD or USB memory device.
Video Entertainment System (VES)
The VES consists of a rear-seat DVD player with a 7-inch liquid crystal display (LCD), a battery-powered remote control and two wireless, multichannel headsets. The system plays DVD, audio, WMA, audio and video CDs and MP3 audio discs. Additionally, there are auxiliary-input jacks on the faceplate to show video directly from a video camera, play games from a video-game console and listen to music from a portable MP3 player. The audio from the VES can be heard through the vehicle’s speaker system, through the wireless headphones or both.
SIRIUS Satellite Radio
SIRIUS is the exclusive provider of satellite radio for Chrysler Group. SIRIUS is available as a factory-installed feature that includes a one-year subscription. SIRIUS delivers more than 125 channels of satellite radio, including 100 percent commercial-free music, sports, news, talk, entertainment, traffic and weather. SIRIUS broadcasts live play-by-play games of the NFL, NBA, NHL and is the official satellite-radio partner of the NFL. Chrysler Group subscribers can also stream SIRIUS programming over the Internet via a high-speed connection at no additional charge.
UConnect Hands Free Communication System
The UConnect Hands Free Communication system uses Bluetooth technology to provide wireless communication between the customer’s compatible mobile phone and the vehicle’s onboard receiver.
UConnect features include:
* Voice dialing – voice commands may be used to digit-dial the phone or access pre-stored voice tags
* Audio address book – enables customers to store up to 32 names, four numbers per name, for a total of 128 phone numbers
* Emergency calls and towing assistance – dials 911 or towing assistance at customer voice command
* Audio-system mute – mutes the microphone for privacy
* Call transfer – allows the customer to transfer a call from the vehicle’s system to the mobile phone
* Three language options for the U.S. – English, French and Spanish
* Multiphone recognition – up to seven phones can be used within one vehicle’s system
“Combining information, entertainment and communication with versatility and ease of use is key for our customers,” said Klegon. “The flexibility that we built into this system will make it easy to meet a variety of desires and tastes — customers can use the touch screen or voice commands to control all of the features in our all-new MyGIG multimedia head unit.”