Cadillac CUE's Up Smartphone Technology For Automobiles
October 12, 2011

Cadillac CUE’s Up Smartphone Technology For Automobiles

Cadillac is bringing gesture-based recognition technology to its new Cadillac User Experience system, called CUE, a comprehensive in-vehicle experience that unites intuitive design with auto industry-first controls and commands for information and entertainment data, beginning in 2012.

CUE was introduced on Tuesday at the fall CTIA Wireless Association's Enterprise and Applications show in San Diego, an event showcasing the latest smartphone and gadget trends. Executives view CUE as the next great leap in simplicity and convenience.

Cadillac describes its Cadillac User Experience as its "all-new, in-vehicle connectivity technology," one that lets the driver define how much technology he or she wants to have at any one time. CUE will be offered next spring in the Cadillac XTS, then later in the Cadillac ATS and SRX crossover.

Cadillac developed CUE to give drivers more ease of control of such devices while driving. Many drivers today are confused by touch screens with icons and control knobs and buttons in many of today's cars that control systems such as the stereo and navigation systems.

The goal was to eliminate as many as 40 buttons that can be found in the center consoles of many cars and replace them with just a handful of easy-to-read icons. But CUE will go much further, said Don Butler, Cadillac's vice president of marketing.

"CUE will transform personal transportation by simply and efficiently integrating luxury design and instinctive technology with unparalleled levels of customized in-vehicle connectivity," Butler said at the CTIA conference and in an accompanying press statement. "For the tech-savvy, it's everything you want it to be — a full suite of infotainment, navigation and communication tools that keeps you fully connected. For the tech-averse, its power is remarkably simple, intuitive and accessible."

CUE will run on the Linux operating system, using an ARM 11 three-core processor, with each core "operating at 400 million of instructions (mips) per second," said Cadillac. The "efficient hardware setup offers 3.5 times more processing power than current infotainment systems," and will let developers write apps for CUE that can be downloaded by drivers.

CUE has an 8-inch LCD touchscreen, located at the top of the vehicle's central instrument panel. The screen shows CUE's homepage, "which resembles a smartphone's screen by using large, easy-to-target icons to execute commands," the company said.

"All of CUE's controls use the same design vernacular to create a harmony unique to Cadillac," said Dave Lyon, executive director of Cadillac Interior Design.

The system will incorporate many innovative features. Among the coolest of the new advances will be the hand gesture feature. When a user moves his or her hand within eight inches of the center touch screen, the number of icons increases to give more choices of things to control. It is the first use of gesture recognition in vehicles.

Also, just as you would use on an iPhone or iPad, CUE users will be able to pinch and squeeze their fingers on the screen to make things bigger or smaller. And instead of just sliding your finger across the glass of the touch screen, you will get a sensation in your finger that will feel like you're pushing a button. The front panel in the center stack also opens up to reveal a cubby hole for extra storage. The system will also feature voice recognition software using Nuance℠s voice technology, and will be based on GM℠s database of commands most used by drivers.

So, "instead of saying 'radio' and waiting for system to respond, you can say ℠I want to listen to 101.1,' and the system will recognize it," Mike Hichme, CUE's engineering manager, told MSNBC's Suzanne Choney. "Most manufacturers put voice recognition on the steering wheel; we're adding it to the screen" to encourage drivers to use voice recognition "rather than scrolling for an item manually."

Cadillac is also redoing the instrument panel, aiming to give drivers more choice in what they see. They can make it look like today's cars or they can customize it with any number of features to give them just the right information they want.

"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."

"CUE is a very elegant in-vehicle hub of all the information and entertainment in your life. All of CUE's controls use the same design vernacular to create a harmony unique to Cadillac," said Lyon. "Vibrant colors, a piano black face plate, precision-milled buttons, intuitive touch screen placement and sculpted front console provide a spacious, fashion-forward cabin."

"It's processing speed and power that make CUE so capable," added Bly.


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