Chrysler’s Uconnect adopts aspects of OnStar and Sync, earning it praise among buyers and critics after years of being a relative unknown for its efforts in this area.
GENERAL MOTORS: GM’s OnStar was introduced as a subscription service offering safety and concierge services. You pushed the OnStar button to connect to a call center where agents knew your location from GPS chips and the cellular technology made the vehicle act like a built-in phone. The car could even call emergency vehicles if airbags deployed in an accident and the driver was unable to make the call.
GM later augmented OnStar by adding the ability to sync the driver’s smartphone to its vehicles for hands-free access as another way to be connected.
GM has announced plans to introduce 4G broadband speed in a bid to regain leadership. Offering 4G through the car would bypass the need to sync a smartphone and allow drivers to retrieve voice mail and text messages through the car. Having 4G could turn the car into a Wi-Fi hot spot, allowing passengers to access the Internet with other computing devices.
Today each GM brand has a customized infotainment system with different names, prices and degrees of sophistication.
Chevrolet has the low-cost MyLink system that relies on Bluetooth to access online content by smartphone. Buick and GMC call their similar system Intellilink.
The Cadillac User Experience, or CUE, is a high-end system delivered through a black and chrome touch screen with no conventional buttons or knobs.
Hichme and Stuart Norris dreamed up CUE in 2008 to tout Cadillac’s technological prowess, simplify cockpits that were a sea of buttons and standardize audio systems for a lineup where no two models had the same radio. CUE has natural voice recognition and presets that can be used for music, contacts or directions.