The company has named this software AutoPark, which basically works the way it sounds. This system automatically gets activated when the driver leaves the car and is left in gear. What happens is AutoPark will stop the car while leaving it on accessory mode - this will keep the radio and other feature stay active for 30 minutes before it shuts off. This feature will also be activated when the driver opens his door with the seat belts unbuckled. This software update was introduced back in April. However, cars that have this software were only released in the summer.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was not only put on the spot over the new shifter designs. They were in hot water last year when actor Anton Yelchin met a tragic accident. The problem with the new shifter is not because it is complicated to use, but because it does not tell the driver whether the car is already parked. This is a problem because drivers have gotten used to this for decades now, as it is a standard in all vehicles.
The reason for the outrage was because the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration found that 266 crashed, 68 injuries, and 686 complaints were related to the electronic shifters that were the same as that on Anton Yelchin’s Jeep Grand Cherokee. After the incident, the company had to recall a total of 1.1 million vehicles in April 2016, so that they could upgrade the software on the shifter designs.
To recall, the NHTSA began their investigation in February 2016. They looked into the 2012 to 2014 models including the Chrysler 300, the Dodge Charger, and the 2014 to 2015 Grand Jeep Cherokee. They found that these models have a gearshift that moves forward and back when selecting a gear, instead of moving and staying at one location.
This probably caused a lot of incidents wherein people think their cars are parked, so they get off their cars, and these would roll off - leading to accidents, and to the death of Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin. The actor’s Grand Cherokee accidentally rolled backwards, pushing him against a brick pillar. The company believes that AutoPark is the perfect solution to completely avoid problems like these in the future.