Car Multimedia

Apps on an open-source platform: Bosch puts the internet into the car Natural voice input for the new General Motors infotainment system

  • Cadillac User Experience (CUE) combines entertainment, navigation, communication and operating functions in a single electronic unit
  • World's first driver information system from Bosch with an open-source operating system Linux
  • Mobile Linux - customized for in-vehicle applications
  • Pre-installed apps as in modern notebooks and smartphones
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  • February 04, 2013
  • Car Multimedia
  • Press releases

press release

It's definitely the apps that make modern smartphones and tablet PCs so interesting. “Apps” stands for applications – the countless number of useful software packages that connect people on the go with information and communication on the internet. Since the invention of the smartphone, many thousands of these apps have already been developed worldwide. They can be easily downloaded for free or for a small fee from the internet.

While these handy little helpers ran exclusively on Apple and Android devices so far, Bosch wants to open up this special world to car drivers as well in the future. “With our new head unit for General Motors, we will connect the car driver to the internet world in a way that is adapted to the special environment in the automobile,” comments Dr. Uwe Thomas, President of the Car Multimedia division at Bosch. This new technology is based on the extensive experience in vehicle technology of the world's largest supplier for the automotive industry. “Another highlight is the device's easy operation using natural voice input,” continues Thomas.

Central unit for entertainment, information, communication and operation
The car driver uses the head unit in GM vehicles to control the audio and video systems, any players connected via USB or Bluetooth®, smartphones, special vehicle emergency call systems like OnStar, telematics services, radio reception via AM, FM, Sirius XM satellite Radio, DAB or Pandora® internet radio, video-based parking systems as well as the vehicle navigation, and last but not least, climate control. In short: all the infotainment and operating systems in a vehicle you can imagine. In addition, the head unit also allows communication between the different systems with one another – without the driver having to take any action. It affords more information, more convenience and relieves the driver of many otherwise tedious activities. This is what the experts at Bosch call “Driving Convenience”.

Bosch puts the car onto the internet
“With 'CUE' – Cadillac User Experience – General Motors and Bosch have joined forces to make a new basis for automotive infotainment systems ready for series production,” explains Uwe Thomas. CUE is the world's first driver information system to work with an open-source operating system, a mobile Linux software platform that basically opens the driver information system to the ideas of qualified software developers and taps into an enormous world of programs like those that are employed today by users of modern tablet PCs and smartphones.

At the same time, Bosch is also closing a gap between the short-lived, attractive world of the apps and the long product lifecycles that are typical of and necessary for the safety-conscious automotive industry. “The mobile open-source platform from Bosch will become the bridge between the highly reliable automotive technology and the very fast-paced software world for mobile and multimedia communication,” explains Uwe Thomas. This means that the driver will be able to customize many of the car's operating functions to suit individually changing needs in the future – and also keep the infotainment system “forever young” well after the purchase of the car. Even used-car purchasers will be able to benefit from this situation at a later date.

Carmakers can now also take advantage of these individualized functions: the latest software updates can be easily uploaded into the vehicle system directly before delivery or even when the car is already at the car dealer's to accommodate specific customer requests, for example, to meet the needs of different markets or to load important updates or include the latest refinements.

Bosch develops and supplies the head unit, i.e. the central operating device, for a number of different General Motors car models. Meanwhile the 2013 models of the Cadillac XTS, SRX and ATS will be equipped with it on the North American market. The head unit is developing into the platform for the entire model range of General Motors.

CUE combines many different infotainment functions
The CUE operating concept is based on the automotive know-how of General Motors and Bosch, the experts on the sensitive interface between man and technology. CUE is designed to relieve the stress and strain on the driver, to provide information and entertainment and to afford greater convenience while at the same time avoiding any distraction from the actual task of operating the vehicle. The driver uses either the touch screen, a central operating panel, the steering wheel remote control or natural voice input to control the different functions for audio, video, navigation, communication or the vehicle's convenience technologies.

The technology communicates with the driver via a freely programmable instrument cluster, different color displays or voice output using the audio system. This is all controlled using the head unit from Bosch. In the premium version, it works with a 3-core processor and is equipped with a 32 GB flash memory and 1 GB of RAM.

Just give the word
Natural voice input is just one of the many sophisticated functions of this new head unit. Up until now, it was necessary for the driver to memorize a specific string of commands to operate the system. In contrast, CUE is able to understand the driver when s/he speaks as if s/he were talking to someone sitting on the passenger seat. The sentence “Please call David Smith at the office” tells the head unit what it has to do: look for telephone numbers for David Smith, select the office number, forward the number to the cell phone, activate the hands-free function and dial the number – all in just seconds. The CUE voice control even understands the driver when s/he speaks German, for example, instead of US American English, or even a dialect.

Or the driver wants to play a special song from the 5 000 songs recorded on the iPhone. While finding that one special song used to be difficult and sometimes even dangerous in traffic, now all that's needed is the sentence “Play Pink Floyd >>Speak to me<< for me” and CUE finds the song on the iPhone, switches the audio system on and the sounds of Pink Floyd fill the car. It doesn't get any easier than that.

Natural voice input makes operation easier than ever before
Thanks to this type of voice control, the Bosch developers have been successful in making life considerably easier for car drivers. CUE also avoids providing any unnecessary information as long as its services are not required. It reduces the information shown on the displays to a minimum and keeps it neatly hidden behind the smart design. CUE then promptly comes back to life when someone moves their hand towards the operating panel.
Operation is incredibly simple; any driver who knows how to operate a smartphone or tablet PC will be able to use the CUE multi-touch operating screen intuitively. The screen is operated with such finger gestures as pressing, pulling apart, pushing and others – the experts describe these features as press, drag, nudge, fling, swipe and hold, spread and pinch. The driver gets noticeable feedback for any input from a slight mechanical impulse from the operating unit.

Wide range of interfaces
CUE is able to accommodate a wide variety of different communication options with external devices and media: up to ten parallel connections via Bluetooth 3.0 and USB interfaces, iPod and iPhone connectivity, an SD card slot, Bluetooth connection for mobile telephony with voice control, hands-free operation with noise suppression and the ability to read, analyze and play back virtually any popular digital audio and video format. Bosch Car Multimedia President Uwe Thomas describes the innovation in a nutshell: “The head unit from Bosch and Cadillac User Experience from General Motors open up completely new forms of communication, information and in-car operation for the driver.”

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Mobility Solutions is the largest Bosch Group business sector. In 2015, its sales came to 41.7 billion euros, or 59 percent of total group sales. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading automotive suppliers. The Mobility Solutions business sector combines the group’s expertise in three mobility domains – automation, electrification, and connectivity – and offers its customers integrated mobility solutions. Its main areas of activity are injection technology and powertrain peripherals for internal-combustion engines, diverse solutions for powertrain electrification, vehicle safety systems, driver-assistance and automated functions, technology for user-friendly infotainment as well as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, repair-shop concepts, and technology and services for the automotive aftermarket. Bosch is synonymous with important automotive innovations, such as electronic engine management, the ESP anti-skid system, and common-rail diesel technology.

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 375,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2015). The company generated sales of 70.6 billion euros in 2015. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing and sales network covers some 150 countries. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. Bosch employs 55,800 associates in research and development at 118 locations across the globe. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.”

Further information is available online at and,

PI7534 - February 04, 2013

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