Update adding features, improving performance.
February 5, 2013
By: Nick Saporito
Software updates are already a part of life for smartphone and PC users, but this societal norm is starting to gravitate to the vehicle as well. In the next few weeks Cadillac will roll out the first significant update to it’s Cadillac User Experience (CUE) infotainment system. The update is expected to provide stability enhancements to address complaints, as well as a few new features.
Most notable, the update is enabling Cadillac drivers to leverage their phone’s voice assistant via the steering wheel. For Apple iPhone users, this means that Siri will be able to be utilized through the car’s audio system. Apple calls this Siri “Eyes Free” meaning certain functions typically available through Siri—such as asking the meaning of life—will not work through CUE. The system will also work with other smartphone voice assistants so long as the phone is using a Bluetooth profile that’s loaded into the CUE system.
Additionally, the update will increase functionality to more media players through the USB port, and for the extremely popular Cadillac owners, CUE will download up to 3,500 phone contacts, up from today’s 1,000.
Cadillac says to expect an overall increase in CUE’s performance. Specifically, certain gestures on the touchscreen, and the capacitive touch button reaction times are to be improved with the update. The CUE system, not unlike other automakers’ infotainment systems, has come under scrutiny for being sluggish and buggy, which Cadillac states is feedback they've received and considered with this update.
Rounding out the updates is a mild reworking of the navigation functionality. While mapping data will remain the same, the system has been tweaked to display more street names, and the logic behind destination routing has been revamped.
Unlike some competitors, Cadillac is not having customers update their systems on their own. Instead, current CUE owners will receive a letter in early March informing them that they may voluntarily have their car updated at a dealership free of charge.
Once taking the vehicle to the dealership for the update, owners may opt to have a Cadillac loaner vehicle to drive while their car is receiving the update.
An ARM 11 3-core processor, with two of those processors dedicated to voice recognition, powers CUE. According to Cadillac the system also houses hardware that is currently not being used by the software, enabling the system to be “future proof” to a certain extent through future releases.
The extra hardware is likely to be utilized on the next update to CUE, which is allegedly going to enable app functionality on the system. GM recently released an API to developers to develop applications for CUE and the company’s other brand-specific infotainment systems. No timeline has been released regarding when customers and developers can expect applications to be ready for download.
Cadillac CUE is currently available on the 2013 ATS, SRX and XTS. All three vehicles will be eligible for the software update. Dealers are expected to receive the update and installation instructions later this month, with customer notification to follow after that.