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Cadillac CUE

The luxury auto maker sets a new standard for in-car technology

by Evan Orensten in Tech on 17 November 2011

We took CUE, (which stands for Cadillac User Experience) for a spin today and were impressed by the in-car tech system's ease of use and innovations. In short, it works just like your smartphone or tablet. This is underwhelming until you realize that you can now interact with your car much the same way that you already do with your other devices, and it's about time.

Three years in the making, the Linux-based system, featured on an 8" LCD display, brings several firsts to the in-car user experience. It's the first to bring haptics to a car display and controls, allowing for tactile feedback when scrolling, selecting and swiping (familiar to many Android phone users); the first to use proximity sensors to change the display based on active or passive use, displaying only what you need and want when you need and want it; the first to deploy multi-touch gesturing. It also powers a 12.3" LCD instrument cluster with four different display options based on your driving and data preferences. Its Nuance-powered voice control allows for more natural language when communicating with the system. Like the Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster, it even offers Internet browsing (when parked). While CUE offers pretty much the same features (at least currently) as most of the other manufacturers, it delivers it in a pretty impressive, intuitive and easy-to-use way.

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One of the first things you notice is that there are many fewer controls in the main stack, as secondary functions appear on screen when needed. The controls also feature haptics, pulsing when pushed, and allow finger swiping to turn the volume up or down, for example. A swipe of the lower lip releases the control cluster, which raises upward to reveal a roomy hidden storage compartment, which also has USB inputs. CUE allows you to customize the display, including a top dock for your favorite apps, which are easily dragged into place.

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It can handle everything from 3D GPS navigation to Pandora music streaming and OnStar. Best of all, your preferences are synced to your smartphone, so different driver's profiles are easily accommodated (CUE can support two Bluetooth connections simultaneously, too, and a total of 10 device profiles).

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CUE will be featured in the 2013 Cadillac XTS (available Spring 2012) and ATS sedans as well as the SRX crossover.

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