July 2012 - Continental develops multimedia system for Fiat Group Automobiles.

Continental develops multimedia system for Fiat Group Automobiles. Series production will start in July 2012.

Regensburg/ Wetzlar (Germany). The international automotive supplier Continental was commissioned by Fiat Group Automobiles to develop a new infotainment system. The system will be launched as a radio in its basic form but also as an advanced multimedia system (head unit). Production begins in July 2012. The first Fiat model equipped with the Continental infotainment system will be the brand new Fiat 500 L, which is being produced in Serbia. The Continental infotainment system will then be rolled out across further models from Fiat/Chrysler.

“The order to develop an infotainment system for the Fiat/Chrysler model range worldwide is a clear sign of trust by the international automobile manufacturer in Continental’s innovative capacity, especially in the area of infotainment,” explains Kieran O’Sullivan, head of the Continental Business Unit Infotainment & Connectivity.

“Millions of vehicles are already connected with the outside world on the basis of our systems. For Fiat Group Automobiles, we are once again implementing the current market requirements in a highly competitive way on a standardized platform, with a focus on an ergonomic user interface for the latest functions in infotainment technology,” O’Sullivan continued.

The hardware and the possible functions

The head unit will start series production in July 2012. With this new system, which began development in December 2010, the driver has access to analogue and digital radio or navigation functions on a 5 inch touch screen. There is also an option to connect digital music sources via USB and to use the hands-free function for smartphones through a bluetooth-interface. The new head unit uses the Microsoft operating system Windows Embedded Automotive and features text-to-speech as well as voice recognition, allowing drivers to utilize functions of the infotainment-system without taking their hands off the steering wheel.

The Continental head unit is designed to allow for new software functions to be installed on the system after the start of series production. Thus the system can be adjusted to the changing preferences of the driver over the vehicle’s complete life-cycle. Additionally the system defines new ecological benchmarks: the Fiat Group’s eco:Drive, which will be integrated into the infotainment-system, can help the driver contribute to the reduction of consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 12% through analyzing driving parameters in real time (acceleration, deceleration, gear shift change and cruise speed) and giving suggestions for more eco friendly driving.

International development and production

The new infotainment system was developed at Continental locations in Wetzlar (Germany), Regensburg (Germany), Deer Park (USA), as well as Guadalajara (Mexico) and Singapore. For Fiat/Chrysler the production will start in July 2012in Brandys (Czech Republic), and will at a later date also take place at the Continental plant in Nogales, Mexico.