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For generations Cadillac has been synonymous with large, American luxury sedans. But in 2012 the unthinkable happened: Cadillac failed to field a single full-sized car. Cadillac's mid-sized CTS lineup had taken center stage, with bigger models like the STS (formerly Seville) and DTS (formerly DeVille) falling by the wayside. 2011 was the last year for the DTS.
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Translogic NAIAS Detroit Auto Show

This year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit was marked by optimism. The industry is coming off a successful year, selling roughly 14.5 million units, and 2013 looks to be even better. And there's no place to better to show off the bright future of the automobile than under the bright lights in Detroit. Here are some of our favorites:
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TRANSLOGIC LA Auto Show

Automakers rolled out the red carpet for Hollywood debuts of their latest concepts and new models at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. This year we noticed that a bit of the tech you'd expect from CES seemed to be invading the space--much like automakers are invading CES. There was a connected car consortium display on the ground floor, along with the futuristic Design Challenge and all around news about upcoming technologies for 2013 and beyond.

Here's a look at our favorites.
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GM's Volt-based Cadillac ELR Coupe is headed for production in late-2013

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Cadillac CUE

It was about the same time the first iPhone launched, back in 2007, that Cadillac began looking toward the future of in-car connectivity. After 4 years of research and development, Cadillac has started to show off the fruits of their labor with a new MyFord Touch competitor named CUE (Cadillac User Experience).
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OnStar featuring Nuance Communications

Awkward spoken commands are quickly going by the wayside as new voice-to-text algorithms take hold, and OnStar is the latest system to benefit from natural language technology.

GM's telematics unit tapped Nuance Communications to provide its latest voice recognition software, allowing OnStar users to simply say, "I need to make a phone call" rather than using simplistic "dial" or "call" commands. The system also recognizes requests for weather and traffic by listening for key words in sentences, such as "What's traffic like?" or "What's today's weather?" And Nuance's text-to-speech system not only recognizes different North American accents, but is also designed to accept commands in Spanish, French and Mandarin. Additionally, GM and Nuance are working on a new voice-commanded directions system dubbed uNav which should be arriving later this year. Until then, the new natural language commands are available on all 2011 OnStar-equipped GM products. Check out the video for a brief demo and get more details in the press release below.



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New Natural Voice Technology Allows for Faster, Easier Access to OnStar Services
OnStar Partners with Nuance Communications to Improve User Experience


DETROIT – OnStar is the first company to offer Nuance Communications Inc.'s (NASDAQ: NUAN) latest voice recognition software, available in 2011 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models.

The more flexible voice recognition system makes it easier for subscribers to navigate services and features through its ability to understand voice commands in a natural manner. Users can simply say, "I need to make a phone call," instead of going through a prompt and using more formal language like, "dial" or "call."

Natural voice technology also allows subscribers to connect with the OnStar Virtual Advisor to access personalized weather and traffic updates by saying common phrases including, "get traffic info," or "what's the weather today?" Through text-to-speech technology, subscribers will instantly receive their requested update from an OnStar Virtual Advisor.

"Understanding and responding to our subscribers' needs through natural voice recognition is one of the ways we keep drivers safely connected to the people and information that matters most to them," said Scott Kubicki, executive director, OnStar Sales, Services and Marketing.

OnStar and Nuance also have made significant improvements that enable the system to better understand the many regional dialects across OnStar's subscriber base. Now a subscriber in southern Louisiana will be just as easily understood as a subscriber in New York or Minnesota. To achieve this, OnStar engineers perform extensive validation tests across English, French, Spanish and Mandarin languages and dialects using various vehicle models in a wide range of driving and noise conditions to achieve flexible speech recognition.

"Enhancing its voice capabilities demonstrates OnStar's long-standing commitment to mobility, innovation and safety for its diverse subscriber population," said Michael Thompson, senior vice president and general manager, Nuance Mobile. "When you couple OnStar's proven experience in safety and connectivity with Nuance's automotive voice innovation, you have achieved a platform that allows for a smarter, simpler driving experience."

OnStar and Nuance are also collaborating to develop uNav, a new self-service feature that allows subscribers to quickly receive directions to a destination using an automated voice system after pressing the blue OnStar button.

Availability

For 2011 model Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles, OnStar Virtual Advisor service is standard on all OnStar equipped vehicles. To learn more about OnStar subscription options, visit www.onstar.com.
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Verizon just rolled out its 4G LTE wireless broadband network, and with General Motors using Big Red for its OnStar system for over 15 years, GM is asking itself: What can we do with all this bandwidth?

The answer is 'plenty'... but nothing immediately.

Instead, GM and Verizon equipped a Buick LaCrosse with a 4G LTE modem and a host of cameras, sensors and controls and is trotting it out at CES to demonstrate how the broadband tech could be implemented.

Among the possible applications is a vehicle monitoring system that utilizes a handful of lipstick cameras to transmit video to the driver to see what's going on both inside and outside the vehicle while they're away. On the same front, the system can be paired with Verizon's 4Home service, which connects with home security cameras, lights and thermostats and transmits information back to the driver.

Other features include voice search, a traffic view that streams live traffic-cam images, Skype with video chat and a impact detection system that would identify if your car was hit in a parking lot, and would then turn on all the exterior cameras and capture an image of the offending vehicle as it drove away.

We'll be checking the system out later this week, so stay tuned for our initial impressions from CES.

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