Cadillac ATS: More Than Just A Pretty Face
General Motors wants to turn your car into a tablet computer on wheels. Really.
The Detroit, Michigan-based automaker announced it will debut its new CUE infotainment software on the Cadillac ATS — a new BMW 3-series fighter GM introduced at the Detroit Auto show earlier Sunday.
Short for Cadillac User Experience, CUE is built around an 8-inch touch screen, kind off like an iPad. ”Customers want things that are elegant, intuitive, and simple to use,” Cadillac Global Marketing Director Jim Vurpillat told a crowd of journalists.
There’s more to GM’s plans than just pretty software however. GM also said it will open up its OnStar telematics service to outside developers.
The first outside developer to take advantage of the service, GM-backed startup RelayRides, plans to let RelayRides users unlock a car they’re renting from other RelayRide users with their smartphone.
CUE is based on Linux, the same open-source software running many of the world’s servers. Cars last three to four to five years, so Cue’s open, Linux-based architecture will let GM keep the CUE’s interface up to date, Vurpillat said.
GM showed a video showing a user accessing Pandora on his car’s center console, plugging gadgets into the car’s USB port, and generally treating the thing like a smartphone with a stick shift.
Unlike an iPhone, of course, you can’t put a Cadillac in your pocket. Like Apple, however, GM is tying its software to a suite of cloud services, and opening its software up to outside developers.
An OnStar cloud platform called ‘ATOMS,’ is already used by more than 250,000 customers who use GM’s ‘RemoteLink’ smartphone software, which let’s users tap into GM’s OnStar service to check their cars diagnostics or unlock their car door with a mobile phone.
GM wants to open that platform up, said Nick Pudar, vice president of planning and business development for OnStar. During the first half of 2012, OnStar will make its application-programming interfaces available to developers.
Third-party developers will get access to ATOM-based services, such as vehicle location, diagnostics, and remote capabilities and controls.
That will allow car sharing service RelayRides to let one of its customers open up a car they’re renting from another RelayRides customer with their smartphone.
And if the car is stolen, GM’s OnStar service can even be used to slow the stolen car down and stop it.
For more coverage of the 2012 Consumer Electronics show, see forbes.com/CES