Cadillac unveils new electronics suite – Cadillac User Experience

It’s little secret that tCE is less than impressed with the technology suite Cadillac has been fielding for the last few years. It is one area we feel Cadillac is lagging behind its competition.

2012 Cadillac CUE XTSRead any of our many reviews for a flavor of things not working right, being clunky or inefficient to operate, etc.

Well, Cadillac hasn’t been plugging ahead and letting this lose them customers forever.

Now we have a peak of the new interior electronics suite dubbed the Cadillac User Experience (CUE).

It includes a new, completely virtual gauge cluster in front of the driver, 8″ capacitive touch screen at center stage, and touch sensitive center stack (physical buttons are so pre-2007, apparently.)

Bluetooth connectivity for phone and media are part of the package (with a slick pop-open section of the center stack to put your devices in). Pinch and swipe gestures, a la iPhone/iPad, are now part of the experience along with haptic feedback (a slight buzz upon touching a control to confirm that your input has been received).

The system will appear first in the new XTS, ATS, and in an SRX interior refresh that are all coming in 2012.

Expect this to make its way into the CTS line and the Escalade as they are refreshed in the coming few years.
Cadillac CUE, a comprehensive in-vehicle experience that merges intuitive design with auto industry-first controls and commands for information and entertainment data, will benefit consumers by offering personalized, connected driving beginning in 2012.

“CUE will transform personal transportation by simply and efficiently integrating luxury design and instinctive technology with unparalleled levels of customized in-vehicle connectivity,” Don Butler, Vice President, Cadillac Marketing, announced at the CTIA Wireless Association’s Enterprise and Applications conference.

CUE will debut in 2012 in the Cadillac XTS and ATS luxury sedans and SRX luxury crossover. CUE is designed to be unique for each consumer, from the “simple user” to the fully connected “super user.”

“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,” Butler said.

CUE, which stands for Cadillac User Experience, will pair entertainment and information data from up to 10 Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices, USBs, SD cards and MP3 players with a vehicle infotainment system that reduces complexity through customized information, natural voice commands and fewer buttons and larger icons

For example, most of today’s luxury cars have around 20 buttons controlling the radio and entertainment functions. CUE reduces that to just four buttons.

“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.”

The heart of CUE is the 8-inch LCD touch screen, seamlessly integrated into the top of the central instrument panel and a motorized fully capacitive faceplate at the bottom concealing a 1.8L storage area. The vibrant LCD screen displays CUE’s home page, which resembles a smart phone’s screen by using large, easy-to-target icons to execute commands. Capacitive refers to using electrodes to sense the conductive properties of objects, such as a finger.

“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 Dave Lyon, executive director, Cadillac Interior Design. “Vibrant colors, a piano black face plate, precision-milled buttons, intuitive touch screen placement and sculpted front console provide a spacious, fashion-forward cabin.”

To improve simplicity and connectivity for consumers, CUE will feature several auto industry firsts.

  • Proximity Sensing: As the user’s hand approaches the LCD screen, command icons appear. Icons can be customized and arranged by consumers to improve ease of use.
  • Haptic Feedback: Buttons on the fully capacitive faceplate pulse when pressed to acknowledge the driver’s commands and helps keep the driver’s eyes on the road.
  • Multi-Touch Hand Gestures: interactive motions (tap, flick, swipe and spread) popularized by smartphones and tablets allow tasks on the LCD screen, such as scrolling lists, zooming maps and searching favorites to be easily accomplished.
  • 12.3 in. LCD reconfigurable gauge cluster (on select models) offers four selectable displays – Simple, Enhanced, Balanced and Performance – that can mix traditional vehicle data such as a speedometer and fuel gauge with navigation, entertainment and 3D vehicle image.
  • Natural Speech Recognition lets consumers speak logically with fewer specific commands to recall stored media or input navigation destinations. CUE’s text-to-speech feature will also allow consumers to receive text messages by system voice and to send recorded text messages in return.
  • Linux operating system, “open” software platform and ARM 11 3-core processor, each operating at 400 million of instructions (mips) per second. This hardware setup offers 3.5 times more processing power than current infotainment systems, and allow developers to write applications to CUE that be downloaded by consumers.

“It’s processing speed and power that make CUE so capable,” said Bly.

Connectivity, Control, Convenience

CUE development began in 2008 when Cadillac designers rode with 32 consumers for six months to study driver habits. Engineers and designers then used the data to develop CUE.

CUE’s LCD screen features the driver’s five most frequently used functions stored along the top of the screen. Along the bottom of the screen, users can select up to 60 favorites from music to points of interest, addresses, maps for weather or directions, phone numbers or system commands, such as “tag song.”

Favorites can also be re-ordered and named to be easily recallable.

The steering wheel contains a five-way controller on the right side to navigate the cluster display, a vol­ume control and buttons to cycle through favorites, while the five-way controller on the left side manages cruise con­trol functions, voice recognition, phone hang-up and heated steering wheel.

CUE’s customization and control features are further enhanced through OnStar’s suite of safety, security and connectivity services , such as Turn-by-Turn navigation, Automatic Crash Notification, hands-free calling and the OnStar RemoteLink mobile application.

Key OnStar features are available through CUE’s LCD screen, gauge cluster and steering wheel controls.