Car Tech Spotlight: Yelp in the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Uconnect Access system has Internet-connected search, but is buggy and slow.
More automakers are adding an onboard cellular modem to vehicles to give drivers the connection and convenience they’re used to on portable devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Like other automotive infotainment systems that include an embedded broadband modem, Uconnect Access in the Jeep Grand Cherokee has an Internet-connected search feature that uses Yelp. This means that in addition to searching for points of interests (POIs) using the navigation system’s static -- and outdated -- database, a driver can get fresh info and much more.
And like other automotive infotainment systems that have this feature, Uconnect Access can be buggy and slow.
As you can see in the video below, when using the Yelp feature in the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the system takes a while to initialize. And this was within minutes of using it several times earlier to do the exact same search. In addition, some of the buttons on the touch screen were unresponsive. Sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn't.
Unfortunately, this lag isn't uncommon in vehicles with the latest Internet-connected infotainment systems, especially the ones that use an embedded modem. I’ve experienced similar issues with mbrace2 system in a Mercedes-Benz GL350 and with the ConnectedDrive system in a BMW 335i.
This makes systems like Uconnect Access with embedded cellular connectivity less attractive since the car owner usually has to pay a subscription for the service after a free trial period -- when they likely already have a data plan and similar services and apps on their smartphone. And a similar search on a smartphone is usually faster, if not safer, than just pushing a steering-wheel button.
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