Chrysler just issued a press release detailing all the new technology that will soon be available in many of its 2009 model year vehicles, and the highlight would have to be the UConnect communications system that looks to compete with some aspects of Ford's Microsoft-powered SYNC system. UConnect appears to be a fancy name for Bluetooth phone integration coupled with voice recognition technology. In addition to pairing up your phone and downloading your address book, you can also input navigation destinations, change satellite radio stations and get to your voice mail using the power of speech. While it doesn't seem to offer functionality as broad as what you get with SYNC, UConnect appears to be a solid choice to check off on the options list.

Next up we have in-vehicle wireless internet connectivity, which Chrysler promises will turn your Pentastar-branded car into a mobile hot spot. It will use a combination of WiFi and 4G broadband connectivity to keep your car connected to the internets, and Chrysler says you'll be able to access your email, as well as download music movies right in your car. For the 2008 model year, MOPAR is already offering an aftermarket device that can make your car an internet hot-spot as well, but we're more interested in the integrated system Chrysler's planning for 2009.

Follow the jump for more and Chrysler's official press release.

[Source: Chrysler]


The rest of Chrysler's technology innovations include the ability to swivel the third-row roof-mounted LCD screen in its minivans that are equipped with Swivel 'n Go so that second-row passengers that are turned around have something to watch. The automaker also announced a new back-up warning system called Rear Cross Path and a Blind Spot Monitoring system, as well as telling us again about the combination of its Active Transfer Case and Front-axle Disconnect on the '09 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger. The latter bit of hardware allows the all-wheel-drive versions of these big sedans to completely disengage the front axle and operate as a true rear-wheel-drive car, which saves about 1 mpg since there's no parasitic drivetrain loss from the AWD system.


PRESS RELEASE

Chrysler LLC Announces Barrage of New Engineering and Technology Innovations

Available on 2009 Chrysler, Jeep® and Dodge models
  • Customer benefits: improved fuel economy, performance, flexibility and convenience
  • In-vehicle wireless Internet connectivity: coming from Mopar® by year end
  • Rear Cross Path: Chrysler-exclusive system warns drivers of approaching traffic in the parking lot aisle during back-up maneuvers
  • Blind Spot Monitoring: exclusive to Chrysler and Dodge in minivan segment
  • Active transfer case combined with front-axle disconnect: independent technologies offered together only by Chrysler
  • Rear-seat swivel scree: yet another Chrysler exclusive
  • Enhanced voice-activated in-vehicle communications system
  • Knowledge Based Engineering: vastly improves vehicle development time

Auburn Hills, Mich., Apr 14, 2008 - Chrysler LLC will introduce a wide array of new, innovative and - in most cases - industry-first technologies, all designed to enhance the customer experience, the company announced here today at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress.

"Chrysler has always been known as an engineering company, and the announcement of these features coming to our lineup in 2009 further drives that point home," said Frank Klegon, Executive Vice President – Product Development, Chrysler LLC. "In today's market, Chrysler's mission is to bring innovation to market more quickly, ultimately resulting in more customer satisfaction and convenience. Each of these unique Chrysler technologies delivers on that mission."

Included in the new technologies are an in-vehicle wireless Internet connectivity system, Rear Cross Path and Blind Spot Monitoring systems, a uniquely combined active transfer case and front-axle disconnect system, and a host of in-vehicle connectivity and entertainment systems that offer added customer benefit and convenience.

In-vehicle wireless Internet connectivity
Chrysler is diligently working on an advanced, in-vehicle wireless system to provide increased security and convenience far beyond anything available today. The system will provide high-speed data transfer and convenience, combining WiFi and 4G connectivity for a new level of wireless technology.

This system will transform the vehicle into a "hot spot" to deliver Internet and e-mail access, and movie and music download capability directly to the vehicle.

While Chrysler will offer this technology in future model-year vehicles, an aftermarket in-vehicle "hot-spot" wireless Internet capability is planned through Mopar® in 2008.

Rear Cross Path
An industry exclusive, Chrysler's Rear Cross Path system warns drivers who are backing out of parking spaces of traffic moving toward their vehicle, but outside the driver's field of vision. Drivers are notified of vehicle(s) crossing behind their vehicle via an illuminated icon on the sideview mirror, and with an audible chime. Rear Cross Path operates any time the vehicle is in Reverse.

Rear Cross Path will be available on the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan.

Blind Spot Monitoring
Chrysler's Blind Spot Monitoring system aids drivers when changing lanes if being passed by vehicles or when vehicles are positioned in the blind spot zone. Drivers are notified of a potential hazard via an illuminated icon on the sideview mirror, and if the turn signal is operated, an audible chime can act as an additional warning. Blind Spot Monitoring – which uses dual ultra-wideband radar sensors – is active any time the vehicle is moving forward.

Blind Spot Monitoring will be available on the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan. No other minivan on the market offers this technology.

Active Transfer Case and Front-axle Disconnect
No other major manufacturer offers these two independent technologies together. In doing so, Chrysler's unique system seamlessly transitions between rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive with no driver intervention. When all-wheel-drive is not required, the system automatically disconnects the front axle and opens the transfer case from the drivetrain to reduce friction and rotational mass. The system provides optimal traction, performance, safety and an improvement in fuel economy of one mile per gallon.

Chrysler's combined active transfer case and front-axle disconnect system will be available on the 2009 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.

Rear-seat Swivel Screen
Already featuring the industry's most capable and sophisticated rear-seat entertainment system, Chrysler enhances its system for 2009 with an exclusive swivel third-row screen to allow passengers facing to the rear of the vehicle, via Chrysler's Swivel 'n Go™ seating system, to view the screen.

Chrysler's Vehicle Entertainment System includes dual DVD players and screens that deliver a variety of programming choices, with ports to connect games and portable media players. The driver and front-seat passenger have the ability to access all video sources on the front-passenger screen.

Chrysler continues to offer exclusive SIRIUS Backseat TV: live family TV programming delivered directly to the vehicle.

The exclusive Chrysler third-row rear-seat swivel screen is available on the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan, while the Chrysler Vehicle Entertainment System is available on the 2009 Chrysler Aspen, 300, Sebring, Jeep® Grand Cherokee, Commander and Dodge Durango, Charger, Ram, Journey, Avenger and Nitro.

Enhanced voice-activated in-vehicle communications system
Chrysler's UConnect® Bluetooth® hands-free system recognizes more than 100,000 words and is capable of learning new words. Voice commands can input addresses to the navigation system, select satellite radio stations and access voice mail.

New for 2009, the hands-free system automatically downloads up to 1,000 phone book entries per phone. The enhanced 2009 Chrysler voice-activated system is available on the 2009 Chrysler Aspen, 300, Sebring, Town & Country, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Commander, Liberty, Patriot, Compass and Dodge Grand Caravan, Charger, Challenger, Nitro, Durango, Dakota, Ram, Caliber, Avenger and Journey.

Full iPod® integration into the audio system also is available on the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country, 300, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Commander, Compass, Patriot and Dodge Grand Caravan, Challenger, Charger and Journey.

Knowledge Based Engineering
In addition to the host of new innovations offered on 2009 Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles, Chrysler's product development team has created its unique Knowledge Based Engineering system to speed vehicle development time. Using the company's proprietary software, engineering data and knowledge, engineers were able to develop the all-new Dodge Challenger in just 21 months, chopping several months off the normal vehicle development time.

The Knowledge Based Engineering process is now in widespread use at Chrysler, with a goal of speeding development time on all future Chrysler vehicles.