By Andrew Ganz
Wednesday, Feb 6th, 2013 @ 8:04 am
 
In response to consumer complaints about its haptic feedback and lag-prone software, Cadillac's CUE infotainment system will be getting an upgrade later this year, one of the automaker's software gurus has confirmed.

CUE, or Cadillac User Experience, is a unique system not shared with other General Motors products. Unlike rivals, it uses a haptic feedback screen - that is, one that buzzes lightly after one of its virtual buttons is selected.

In an interview with Wired, CUE design manager Jeff Massimilla said that the automaker is "making a modification that will be released sometime later this year."

Masilla also indicated to the tech magazine that the upgrades will improve response time. CUE has been criticized by media reviewers, including those at Leftlane, for its slow responses. Similarly, future vehicles equipped with CUE will apparently scrap some of the capacitive controls separate from CUE's screen. Cadillac tossed conventional buttons and knobs out the window with CUE, forcing drivers and passengers to rely on stylish but ultimately challenging-to-operate capacitive buttons that don't provide feedback when selected.

"Is there supplementation for mechanical controls? Yes, that's something you'll be seeing in the future," Cadillac marketing vice president Don Butler told Wired.

The magazine also says that CUE's updates will only be performed by dealers, not by consumers. Ford came under some criticism after it shipped a USB thumb drive to owners of vehicles equipped with its much-maligned MyFord Touch system. The Ford update was time-consuming and it prevented owners of some vehicles from making audio, climate or navigation changes while it rewrote the software.

It isn't clear how much Cadillac will actually change CUE's interface. When Ford streamlined MyFord Touch, it reduced the number of available screens and it redesigned virtual buttons to make them easier to operate while driving. CUE's Apple iOS-inspired interface uses far simpler screens than MyFord Touch and it hides some information until it senses that an operator's hand is approaching the screen.

CUE is currently available on Cadillac's ATS and XTS sedans, as well as its SRX crossover. Early on, Cadillac realized that CUE would require some acclimation for its drivers, so it included an iPad with newly-delivered XTS models. The iPad was pre-loaded with an app that simulated CUE's interface to help drivers familiarize themselves with the infotainment system.