General Motors announced this morning a new in-vehicle telematics system for its Cadillac brand called CUE that promises natural voice recognition, proximity sensors and a touchscreen interface in an effort to further connect car and Internet.
CUE, which stands for Cadillac User Experience, is part navigation, part communication and part infotainment. It will can pair with up to 10 Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices, USBs, SD cards and portable media players and allows the driver to use information from those devices during various in-vehicle activities, from GPS navigation (such as finding a contact's home) to replying to e-mail.
The goal, as with any telematics system, is to keep the driver's eyes and ears on the road and prevent them from fumbling with a mobile device. The challenge, of course, is ensuring that humans -- biologically proven to have one-track minds -- use these services at an appropriate time.
To that end, the interface aims to lower hurdles. It has only four buttons to learn and a large eight-inch capacitive touchscreen in the center stack. The icons on the screen are large, and several sensor-driven features -- haptic feedback, proximity sensing and speech recognition among them -- help reinforce or replace actions made on the display.
As GM's luxury brand, Cadillac should rightfully be at the forefront of technological innovation. The most interesting aspect, however, might be how its customer base (average age: 58) reacts to this new dose of art and science.