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No other automaker is more heavily associated with off-roading than Jeep. Consumers know the brand designs its vehicles to go off-road. But Jeep isn’t sitting on its laurels. It’s constantly looking at ways to innovate. Here’s a glimpse at Jeep’s vision for bringing digital maps — and more — to the off-road experience.

A look at the history of Jeep’s off-roading capabilities 

Jeep shows how it could personalize and enhance the Jeep community's off-road experience through connected software technology
Jeep shows how it could personalize and enhance the Jeep community’s off-road experience through connected software technology | Stellantis

One of the automaker’s most iconic vehicles was produced for the U.S. military. It was called the Willys, and it was a capable vehicle that helped America and its allies vanquish their enemies during World War II. One of the things the military needed was a vehicle that could handle the world’s many types of terrain.

The Willys could do just that and more. However, while Jeep continued producing capable off-roading vehicles for the U.S. military, the automaker also produced cars for the civilian market. These vehicles, such as the Wrangler, were very capable off-road as well, and the brand continued to improve and innovate their off-roading capabilities throughout the years. 

For instance, one of the big improvements came in terms of comfort. The modern Wrangler can off-road as well as before, but it offers a far more comfortable ride than the Jeeps of decades past. That said, the company isn’t done innovating.

The brand’s new vision for the future of off-roading

The automaker plans to add a feature called Jeep Trails to the next generation of its vehicles, according to its parent company, Stellantis . As the feature’s name implies, it would add about 6,000 off-road trails to a Jeep’s computer. That said, the main innovation with this features is that the maps will update through over-the-air updates.

Over-the-air updates are a nice way to provide updates to a car without having to take it to a dealership. Many high-tech cars, especially EVs like Tesla models, already use over-the-air updates. Jeep can even use this feature to create new driving modes for specific trails. That said, over-the-air updates for off-road trails aren’t the only thing the automaker is thinking about adding to its future vehicles.

It also wants to create a sort of social media for owners who are off-roading. Owners will be able to create profiles, share photos with other owners, and “poke” them when they’re off-road. Furthermore, folks driving in groups can use the Group Ride function to keep track of and talk to one another while they’re having fun on a trail. 

Other ways that Jeep is innovating

Asides from those future features, the company plans to innovate under the hood, too. After all, like many other automakers, Jeep is moving toward more eco-friendly vehicles, and the Wrangler 4xe is a big step in that direction. However, the 4xe is a plug-in hybrid — Jeep plans to introduce a fully electric vehicle in 2023.

But even in terms of EVs, the automaker has some big ideas about what’s next. For example, in its recent “Freedom Connected” video, the company showed off a feature that’ll allow a Jeep vehicle to share its electricity with another Jeep model. In a future world full of EVs, that could be a cool feature, especially off-road. But this was just a look at Jeep’s vision for the future. Things might be very different when the brand finally releases these features to the market.


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