Skip to Content

Cadillac Gets Smart

Here’s two reasons to keep an eye on Caddy’s new offering.
February 17, 2012

With all due respect to Hollywood, actual robot revolutions occur by degrees. For proof of this, we need look no further than the 2013 Cadillac XTS, which uses something called “sensor fusion” to introduce elements of autonomy to the car.

In other words, before we get to cars that drive themselves, we’ll first have cars like the XTS, which sort of drive themselves. The XTS’s system uses ultrasonic sensors, radar, cameras, and positioning technologies to help drivers avoid crashes. The XTS will also offer full-speed range adaptive cruise control, smart brake assist, rear automatic braking, lane departure warning, automatic collision preparation, and adaptive forward lighting, according to a press release.

Bakhtiar Litkouhi, GM Research and Development lab group manager for perception and vehicle control systems, put it this way in a statement reported in Torque News: “We believe sensor fusion will enable future active safety systems to handle a greater number of inputs to provide 360 degrees of crash risk detection and enhanced driver assist features. A system that combines the strengths of multiple sensing technologies and expertly manages those inputs can provide advisory, warning, and control interventions to help drivers avoid collisions and save lives.”

“Sensor fusion” appears to just be GM’s fancy way of saying that the system uses inputs from various types of sensing technology. “No sensor working alone provides all the needed information. That’s why multiple sensors and positioning technologies need to work together synergistically and seamlessly,” said Litkouhi. Autoblogvideo recently posted an interview with Litkouhi on YouTube, in which he went into more detail.

In addition to this “active” safety system, as GM terms it, the 2013 Cadillac XTS will feature a revamped telematics system called Cue (for “Cadillac User Experience”). The New York Times recently went hands on with Cue, and found it extremely intuitive for anyone familiar with a smartphone. (“We were determined to eliminate the steep learning curve, so we based the design on familiar devices and made ease of use a priority,” GM’s Mike Hichme explained.) The system can also be run with voice commands, using Nuance software.

GM’s decision not to reinvent the wheel (so to speak) with its infotainment system was a wise one. As smartphones and tablet interfaces become the ones we are most familiar with, it makes sense for manufacturers of other systems to follow suit. Consumers shouldn’t have to climb steep learning curves with every new device we encounter–more often than not, that simply leads to us giving up on the systems before we ever began to use them. 

Sometimes the most forward-thinking design decisions are the ones that actually look backward–at the interfaces that already work.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.