Chrysler is hoping that a technology offensive will lure customers back to its brand with the unveiling of a number of connectivity and safety features that it claims are industry firsts. Most notably, the company yesterday unveiled details of an in-vehicle wireless system, which will combine Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity to turn its vehicles into mobile hotspots. According to the company, the new wireless technology will be available in future model-year vehicles and as an aftermarket option through Mopar, Chrysler's service arm, by the end of this year.
Other technologies announced by Chrysler for its 2009 models include:
- Rear Cross Path is an active safety system that alerts drivers of traffic coming from the side while backing up out of a parking spot. It's available in the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan.
- Blind-spot monitoring system is a system that uses radar sensors to detect the presence of cars out of the driver's vision. It's available on the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan.
- Active Transfer Case and Front-axle Disconnect are two independent systems that work together to disengage the car's front axle from the drivetrain when all-wheel-drive is not needed. It's available on the 2009 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.
- Rear-seat Swivel Screen is designed to give passengers in Chrysler's fore-and-aft facing Swivel 'n Go seating configuration access to the same digital display. It's available on the 2009 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan.
According to Chrysler, the Rear Cross Path and the Rear Swivel Screen are industry firsts, while the offering of a blind-spot detection system on the Town and Country and the Grand Caravan is a first for the minivan segment. Also new for 2009 Chrysler models is an enhanced version of the automaker's UConnect system, which will automatically download phonebook entries, and which can be used for making calls and programming navigation destinations by voice command.