Cadillac Takes Aim at Technology Leadership

We are officially a week away from the New York Auto Show and the pre-show news has started to flow in force.  One of the items that caught our attention is all of the in-car technology news that Cadillac has been readying for their upcoming models.  Both the new ATS and XTS are going to be available with a stack of technology that could potentially vault them back into a leadership position in the industry (from the brand’s current position that is anything but a leadership one). Read on for new on just some of the features that are going to be available and stay tuned for in-depth coverage from the NYC show as we have some one-on-one time planned with GM.

Cadillac’s CUE (Cadillac User Experience) is the foundation for their new navigation and infotainment system. From what we understand, it is a fresh ground-up approach to vehicle user interfaces. Cadillac is going to take advantage of the real estate of the normal gauge pod and center stack to present information to the driver with a few interesting advances. Just as others have replaced their traditional speed and tachometers dials with screens, Cadillac plans to as well. Where they have innovated is with the navigation screen. Cadillac plans to put the first ever proximity sensing tactile feedback screen in the navigation display. The purpose of this is to allow non-essential items to fade into the background while important information is highlighted. If a driver wants to interact with the screen, as their hand approaches, the rest of the menu items will light without requiring a touch. This ultimately allows them to utilize all of their screen real-estate for the most pertinent information without the typical clutter of other menu items.

One of the major issues with pure touch screen setups has always been that it requires visual confirmation that an action has been performed. To combat this the touch screen that is a part of CUE will physically pulse to confirm touches and button presses. The final party piece of CUE is going to be its ability to handle gestures. Much like the way you can flick, swipe, and zoom with a modern smartphone and tablet, these interactions will be handled by CUE’s screen. For my two cents, this is going to be what will make or break the CUE system. Designing an intelligent user interface that is intuitive and responsive is a challenge (does anyone else, like me, own a Motorola Xoom tablet?), and if Cadillac manages to make something that can keep iPad users happy without alienating their more mature base, they will have managed to split the proverbial arrow.

With all of this information being presented to the driver they have also attempted to keep them alerted to what is happening on the road. Here they will have a suite of technologies; safety seat alert, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, blind spot alert, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive lighting, rear camera with dynamic guidelines, full-speed adaptive cruise control, front and rear automatic breaking, automatic collision preparation, and intelligent brake assist. As you may be a bit bleary from reading that allow me to point out two highlights. First, the safety seat alert is going to be the first directional seat alerting system in the industry. In English, the seat will be able to independently vibrate the left and right sides of the seat to notify the driver of an alert and its direction. Second, the rear automatic braking, is going to be a system to keep a virtual bumper around the car and will apply braking to prevent or reduce an impact.

Cadillac is clearly loading both barrels in an attempt to take down the worlds best with their upcoming models and technology. We look forward to getting some hands-on time with them at the New York Auto Show and behind the wheel in the near future. Have any questions or things that you would like to know more about? Let us know in the comments.

Author: Kevin Gordon

Kevin is Autosavant's owner and Editor-in-Chief, responsible for setting the overall strategy and editorial direction of Autosavant. He's also the primary contributor to Autosavant's YouTube channel (youtube.com/autosavant) where you can find a comprehensive library of new-car reviews.

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