Published on March 9th, 2012 | by Gerry Miles0
Ford, Chrysler, Cadillac and Audi chosen as ‘Connected Cars of the Year’
Let’s first give the New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA) some props for its prescient presentation last spring at MIT, “Connectivity and the Car” /An industry roundtable on telematics, that featured multiple panelists discussing how today’s motorist expects to be connected to devises large and small whether they’re in their car or at home and the challenges automakers face delivering upon those expectations.
Now, less than one year later, the folks at Connected World magazine have crowned four cars in segments as “Connected Car of the Year” as chosen by it editorial staff for having the right balance of safety, convenience and infotainment.
According to a press release, factors considered included active-safety features and distraction-free driving; connectivity focusing on comfort and convenience; and info-tainment with distraction-free operations for music, video and Wi-Fi.
“Drivers have reached a point in which they are looking for a vehicle that is safe and reliable, and can keep them connected while on the road, just as they are able to while in the office or in their homes,” says Mike Carrozzo, chief editor, Connected World. “As consumers, we also want to be connected in a distraction-free environment. The connected cars named as winners for 2012 are certainly providing these options, and so much more.”
The 2012 Connected Car of the Year winners are:
Ford Focus (Small)
Chrysler 300 (Mid-Size)
Cadillac XTS (Luxury)
Audi A8 (Ultra-Luxury)
Audi is the first company worldwide to feature factory-installed wireless internet, enabling the innovative infotainment system called Audi connect. Previously only available in the A6, A7, A8 and Q7, Audi connect is now available on all A4 and A5 models, making Audi the only brand worldwide to feature this level of integrated connectivity in the B segment.
Cadillac’s XTS will debut CUE, which stands for Cadillac User Experience. CUE is a customizable user interfaces including a standard eight-inch screen in the “center stack.” CUE features several auto industry firsts, including capacitive-touch control with proximity sensing, gesture recognition and natural voice recognition.
In addition to CUE, the XTS will debut a network of safety cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors to bolster driver vision and awareness of road hazards and intervene to help avert potential crashes. In some cases, Cadillac’s enhanced vision and sensing systems will act without the driver, such as though automatic braking based on information indicating potential obstacles.
Ford’s Focus was selected for connectivity stemming from MyFord Touch and SYNC.
Chrysler’s hands-free communications system is called Uconnect.
The vehicles are profiled in the March issue of Connected World.
Editor’s Note: Gerry Miles was a founding member of NEMPA and a two-time past president. Other autoinsane.com staff are also members in NEMPA.