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Tech Tuesday Number 3: Who Has the Best Infotainment System
That interactive screen found in most new cars has significant impact on purchase decisions, meaning new car buyers want a system that is responsive, pretty and easy to use. We’ve decided to rank our experiences with the infotainment systems offered by major auto makers.
We’ll start with an honorable mention: We’d love to include the 17-inch screen found in the Tesla Model S but it’s too niche and limited to a vehicle few people can afford to own. However, it features a responsive screen that can be horizontally split. There is also a built in web browser.
Beyond that, the system is quite cluttered looking, but features some of the latest high-tech hardware. We can’t wait until Tesla’s cars, and by extension infotainment system, becomes more affordable.
In order to attract buyers, car manufacturers have had to ramp up the amount of technology offered in their cars. Infotainment systems do a lot, like help navigate, set cabin temperature, adjust audio settings and more, but they tend to be a neat party trick, falling short in real-world use.
Cadillac‘s latest in-vehicle connectivity and control module, called CUE, has been given a big boost by receiving the Top Gadgets of 2012: Editor’s Choice Award by Popular Mechanics magazine.
The award was presented to Cadillac at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV. Cadillac was the only auto manufacturer to walk away with an award from Popular Mechanics.
The CUE was picked because of its innovative technology and potential impact on the industry.
Andrew Del-Colle, assistant editor of Popular Mechanics magazine said; “After seeing an earlier demonstration of the system at the Los Angeles Auto Show, I knew it would be a strong candidate for an award at CES. The show offered a great opportunity to compare the CUE with many other OEM and aftermarket systems, and it stood out to us for its innovative use of new standards such as HTML 5, as well as for its intuitive user interface.”
CUE brings the first application of capacitive touch in an automobile. It uses electrodes to sense conductive properties of objects such as fingers. This system is similar to the touch and interaction one gets from gadgets like the iPad.
Other key aspects of CUE are natural speech recognition, Bluetooth connectivity for up to 10 devices and a motorized concealed storage compartment. The system runs on an ARM 11 3-core processor on a Linux open-source HTML5-based software platform.
The CUE system will debut in the Cadillac XTS and the ATS, and will be thus available to consumers from this summer.
General Motors is taking their Cadillac and OnStar brand to the 2012 Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas.
The show, which runs from January 10 – 13, is a hot bed for all the latest gadgets and gizmos and GM wants to take advantage of that by showcasing their latest version of the OnStar system and Cadillac’s new CUE multi-media infotainment system.
Cadillac will be demonstrating for the press and public how CUE works and also regarding the creation of this innovative new technology.
OnStar will unveil its evolutionary research in the 4G LTE cloud connected vehicle space and reveal future expansions in the mobile applications arena. It will also make announcements about OnStar FMV, its aftermarket rearview mirror that contains all of OnStar’s key functions for older and off-brand vehicles.
OnStar will also collaborate with Verizon Wireless to show how its 4G LTE network to show how its in vehicle streaming can benefit all its occupants.
The 2012 C.E.S. will be held at the Casanova Ballroom of the Venetian Hotel and Casino, so if you want to see the latest technology from GM and other tech companies, this is the show to be at.
As expected and right on time, Cadillac rolled out their new XTS Sedan today at the LA Auto Show, fully unveiling their new flagship luxury sedan. Confirmed is a 3.0L V6 with 300-hp under the hood powering the XTS Sedan boasting Cadillac’s Art & Science design language.
The 300-hp V6 is mated to a six-speed transmission and Cadillac claims it has “very impressive fuel economy”. Genuine leather and wood is used throughout the interior, giving it a warm and opulent feel; while the XTS Premium will ramp up the luxury inside with a suede headliner, special accents and two unique interior trims.
Cadillac also boasted that the XTS Sedan is their most technologically advanced vehicle yet, equipped with their Magnetic Ride Control and Brembo brakes as standard. Furthermore, technological advancements enhance the safety of the vehicle by utilizing what Cadillac calls a network of cameras and radar sensors to warn drivers of possible accidents before they occur. Their “virtual bumpers” allows for low-speed detection of hard-to-spot articles and can even stop the vehicle to prevent an accident from happening. Another feature on the XTS Sedan worth mentioning is adaptive cruise control with full speed range.
The XTS Sedan is confirmed to be the first vehicle in Cadillac’s lineup to come with their new Cadillac User Experience (CUE) which features advanced in-vehicle connectivity paired with an industry’s first multi-touch screen with haptic feedback (which vibrates slightly when icons are touched). CUE will be integrated into other Cadillac models including the ATS later this year.
GALLERY: Cadillac XTS Sedan
Unveiled at the CTIA Wireless Association’s Enterprise and Applications conference in Sand Diego, Cadillac‘s new CUE system promises to be the most advanced in-car telematics interface. Rivaling system’s like MyFordTouch, it’s also designed to be easy to use and understand, even for novices.
With a big 8-inch high-def screen (optional 12.3-inch) CUE has numerous unique features to the segment, even using multi-touch hand gestures, much like the iPad, with different motions (tap, flick, swipe and spread) all executing different functions on the screen. Plus it even offers “haptic feedback” with the screen pulsing where pressed to give the operator and idea of what button they are on – allowing you to keep your eyes on the road. In addition, Cadillac says CUE will allow for fewer and simpler voice controls, while also reading texts and sending pre-recorded messages in return.
CUE stands for Cadillac User Experience and Cadillac aims to make that experience as user-friendly as possible, reducing the usual 20 or so buttons used to control in car features to just four, with a display screen that features large icons and a big storage area behind to place your smartphone.
“CUE doesn’t replace your smartphone or your iPod,” said Micky Bly, executive director, Global Electric Systems, Infotainment and Electrification. “Rather it allows consumers to securely store those mobile devices while channeling the information on those devices, along with your navigation tools, weather maps with Doppler radar, AM/FM and XM radio, instant messages and emails, through a central portal in your Cadillac, keeping hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.”
Developed based on driving habits, CUE’s LCD screen puts the driver’s five most frequently used functions at the top of the screen with up to 60 other customizable options available at the bottom of the screen. Also a part of the package are two five-way controllers, with the one in the right of the steering wheel that allows operation of display, the volume and with buttons to scroll through the favorites. On the left side is a controller to operate cruise control, voice recognition, Bluetooth and the heated steering wheel. And of course GM’s OnStar system is a part of CUE with many OnStar functions available on the screen.
The first models to offer the CUE telematics system are the upcoming ATS (Caddy’s BMW 3 Series fighter) as well as the XTS flagship luxury sedan and the SRX crossover.