- Jeep Wrangler, the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles car brand whose sales slipped 1% in 2017 from a year earlier, showed off fully loaded models with a wide range of onboard mobile features at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, according to a press release from the company. The brand also released its Jeep Adventure Reality app that uses augmented reality (AR) technology to help people design a car with an Apple iPhone or iPad.
- Jeep highlighted the fourth generation of its Uconnect onboard information and entertainment system that has an 8.4-inch display, 4G LTE connected services, more processing power, multi-touch gestures, sharper graphics and the ability to support smartphone integrations of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
- Uconnect will also offer drivers a chance to save on auto insurance by signing up for the Drive 'n Save program that monitors driving habits for several months and scores higher points for smooth acceleration, braking cautiously and limiting late-night car rides. In addition, Jeep created a skill for Amazon Alexa digital assistant that lets people use voice commands to start the engine, lock and unlock doors, send navigation instructions and check fuel and tire pressure levels.
Carmakers like FCA again are using CES to show off concept cars and the latest mobile features including on-board infotainment systems, smartphone apps and voice-activated tools. Safety is a major theme among the new features, especially with distracted driving being blamed for a growing number of traffic fatalities.
FCA addresses safety issues with its Drive 'n Save program and Family Alerts that let parents monitor the activity of teen drivers and set up boundaries and curfews through the Uconnect smartphone app. The services require a subscription to satellite provider SiriusXM Guardian to monitor the car's location.
Jeep's AR app is interesting in that it lets drivers customize the features of their ideal car and then place it in a virtual reality (VR) environment using a smartphone or tablet. The feature doesn't require special VR headsets to interact with the virtual car, which will likely give a larger number of consumers access to the feature. Consumers can easily share their designs on social media or click a link to Jeep's website to contact a dealer, the ultimate marketing goal with the hopes of driving (no pun intended) sales for the car company.
Jeep is now among the companies that are embracing AR technology to show off its car models. In December, BMW released a new version of its iPhone app that lets users inspect and customize cars using AR and 360-degree video in a virtual showroom.