Fiat Patents Locking Dock For Your Tablet

Chrysler UConnect

The touchscreens in cars are getting bigger, and their ability to integrate with your phone is getting better and better. But even with an improvement every generation, most cars only get a new system every five years or more. With the systems being developed years before that, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the annual iPhone or Android updates, let alone navigation maps that update quarterly.

So why bother trying? Why not just develop an app that will let you plug your existing smartphone or tablet into the dash and use that? The problem is largely one of safety. If you put your own phone on the dash and it hits you in an accident? That’s your fault. But if the automakers give you a dock, it needs to stay in place.

Fiat Chrysler has just come up with a way to fix that. They have patented a dash-mounted frame that will hold your tablet, phone, or GPS in place front and centre in the centre stack. The system is designed to lock your device in place, and it operates along with the power locking system to only release it when you unlock your doors. That makes it secure in a crash, it also makes it more secure against theft.

The patent filing doesn’t show if the device will accept inputs from the car (like trip computer or gauge information), or give an indication of when this could see production, but bring-your-own-device is a quick way to keep a car up to date. Or at least as up to date as you are.

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Evan Williams

Evan Williams

Evan is based in Halifax, and has been a car nut for as long as anyone can remember. He autocrosses, does lapping days and TSD rallies, breaks cars and then fixes them again.