Ah, software updates. You’ve got to love the big ones that can take hours and require us to restart our computers (or phones, whatever the case may be). I’ve got one waiting on my phone right now for me – oh joy. We’ve all been used to software updates for our computers and phones.
Now they’re becoming more commonplace in our cars as well, and the possibilities are endless. Owners of Apple iOS and Google Android phones (sorry BlackBerry and Windows Phone….) are used to getting updates every once in a while that add new features and functionality, along with fixing bugs. Why can’t it be the same in our cars? It can. Of anyone, Tesla is perhaps the biggest innovator in this area. The Model S is run by an OS that is in touch with the car’s functions and connects to the Internet.
This enables Tesla technicians to check the car’s diagnostics remotely, as well as pushing software updates over the air. Other manufacturers are in the hunt for technology supremacy as well though. When the Cadillac XTS debuted at the 2011 Los Angeles International Auto Show, one of the headlining features was the Cadillac User Experience system, known as CUE. Since then, CUE has spread to the Cadillac SRX and ATS. With a capacitive screen, haptic feedback and a beautiful user interface it was heralded as one of the industry’s best infotainment systems. Like a lot of new software though, it is has its bugs. Buyers have noticed some lag, and that needs to be fixed as soon as possible. CUE design manager Jeff Massimalla told Wired Magazine that they’re working on a fix. “We’re hearing about haptics and the desire for quicker responses, and we’re making a modification that will be released sometime later this year” he says.
Glad to know that they are listening. Later this year is pretty noncommittal though – it could be in two months or at the end of the year. Hopefully for Cadillac users, it will be sooner than later. Massimalla says that the update will be done by Cadillac dealers. Customers will need to take their car in to have it updated, rather than doing it themselves via the car’s data connection. He says that as a Cadillac, dealers should be the one doing the work, not consumers. I’d rather just do it myself, but hey I’m not in the usual luxury buyer mindset. Ford has a lot of experience in dealing with software updates thanks to its MyFord system. The difference is that it has chosen to push these updates over the air. In addition to its interface, CUE is notable for its lack of any traditional knobs or buttons. According to Cadillac, future models may add them for certain functions – providing a blended setup. Learning what works and what doesn’t is all part of doing something new, and were glad to see that Cadillac took a bold step forward with such system. Can you remember all the hate that BMW received for iDrive? By contrast Cadillac says that feedback CUE has been “overwhelmingly positive” – save for the issue with a bit of lag. Hopefully the software update comes out soon and fixes it. Its an issue that can be fixes easily – CUE-enabled cars certainly don’t lack in processing power.