Microsoft wants your car: Fiat 500L gets Windows Embedded Automotive OS

A Windows powered car is not anything new; Ford has been factory installing their Windows Embedded in-vehicle communications and entertainment system, SYNC, with cars since 2007.

Now, six years later, Fiat is getting in on the action by installing a redesigned Uconnect system based on the architecture into their latest 500L model. The Fiat 500 was first produced in 1957 until sales plummeted in 1975; the rebirth of the car, to celebrate its 50th anniversary, was in 2007. To this day, the Fiat 500 is still considered as one of the first city vehicles and as an automobile that truly redefined the term "small car".

The newly redesigned Fiat Uconnect system, running on the Windows Embedded Automotive OS, features a 5 inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity, SiriusXM Radio, and voice recognition support. If that isn't enough, you can upgrade to Uconnect 6.5 which sports a larger 6.5 inch display and provides a dealer-activated navigation system with over 6 million points of interest. Using the voice recognition system, drivers can respond to text message by selecting from a list of 18 predefined responses.

The effort to integrate Windows began ten years ago in 2003; a team of Fiat and Microsoft employees met in Redmond to discuss possible collaboration. The development of the platform began in early 2004 during which, Microsoft developed the hardware and software from scratch. In June of 2005, the project was handed over to Fiat for final production.

Candido Peterlini, director of Product Planning Infotainment at Fiat, stated that Uconnect was a perfect balance of technology and implementation: “We needed a high-quality, upgradable solution, but didn’t want a huge processor that would drive up costs. With Windows Embedded, we found the sweet spot.”

Fiat 500

Are any of our readers sporting a Ford with SYNC technologies or planning to upgrade their current ride to a Fiat 500L?

Source: Microsoft News Center, The Fire House, Windows Embedded Blog

Michael Archambault