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Cadillac CUE infotainment system to arrive in 2012

Wed, 12 Oct 2011

Cadillac has lagged the industry in infotainment, but that will change next year.

While Ford has touted MyFord Touch, and the imports various infotainment systems, General Motors spent the past 30 months developing CUE, short for Cadillac User Experience.

The infotainment system's simplicity might remind users of an iPod Touch screen. By contrast, the complexity of Ford's system prompted Consumer Reports to urge readers not to buy vehicles equipped with MyFord Touch.

"The first thing they don't want to do is pull out a 500-page owner's manual and try to figure out how to use something. So we wanted to make the icons big, intuitive, easy to use. You will see the interface mimics a tablet computer more than it does a traditional automotive infotainment system," said Tim Nixon, executive director, global functional leader, infotainment and OnStar engineering.

Nixon was interviewed Tuesday at an embargoed Cadillac press event in San Diego. CUE was introduced Oct. 12 at the CTIA Wireless Association's Enterprise and Applications conference also in San Diego.

CUE will be standard on the 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan arriving next year and optional on the 2013 Cadillac ATS and SRX. The XTS replaces the DTS and STS in Cadillac's lineup. The ATS is Cadillac's new compact car, which also arrives in 2012. Pricing was not announced.

Cadillac claims several industry firsts for its infotainment system:

Haptic feedback: In an effort to key the driver's eyes focused on the road, buttons on the faceplate pulse when pressed to acknowledge the driver's commands.

Multi-touch hand gestures: Interactive motions (tap, flick, swipe and spread) popularized by smartphones and tablets are incorporated on to the 8-inch LCD screen to let the driver scroll lists and zooming in or out of a maps, for example.

Proximity sensing: When the driver's hand gets within eight inches of the screen, additional ions appear on the screen that give the driver more choices of things to control.

Natural speech recognition: The system lets consumers speak as they would in conversation and not with awkward commands and sequences.

Don Butler, vice president, Cadillac marketing, said CUE will make a statement: "If we are truly going to appeal to a luxury customer, we have to be relevant, and technology today and technology applied in a useful, meaningful way, that is relevant for the luxury buyer."

Butler said CUE also will be able to access all of the audio data on a person's smartphone: "It will make the vehicles that much more appealing from the standpoint of what they are able to do to accommodate how they are living their lives today."

By Rick Kranz- Automotive News