Buick and GMC models to receive the IntelliLink infotainment system

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 18, 2011

Certain Buick and GMC models sold in the U.S. and Canada will be getting an upscale version of Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment connectivity system. This year, GM is introducing the IntelliLink system in the Buick Regal, Verano and LaCrosse.

The 2012 Terrain is the first GMC model to receive the system. Micky Bly, GM’s executive director of global electrical systems, hybrids, electric vehicles and batteries, said that IntelliLink will debut on the Regal, LaCrosse and Terrain, in late summer or early fall. He didn’t say when the system will be launched on the Verano.

With the IntelliLink, motorists are able to link their smart phone and its functions like texting, calls, music or navigation to the vehicle’s voice recognition software, sound system and navigation screen.

Because of this system, motorists can choose new applications online and continue to update their software. IntelliLink makes use of the same technological building elements as MyLink, which is set to debut in the Chevrolet Equinox and Volt this fall and in the Malibu in early 2012.

Both systems use the operating system from QNX Software Systems Co. They also share a voice recognition program from Nuance Communications Inc.

These two systems will feature “starter” apps like the Pandora Internet radio and Stitcher, which is an app that enables users to create customized radio stations where their favorite podcasts can be played.

To differentiate Buick and GMC from Chevrolet, these two brands will receive a bigger seven- or eight-inch console screen and customers can get to choose from an improved range of apps.

Powered by Nuance, this voice control system is hand-free and allows the use of even simple voice commands in order to start a phone call. Voice commands can be used as well to choose radio stations or even media sourced from smartphones or portable MP3 players.

A button is placed on the steering wheel and with a press allows for verbal control of a number of radio features. To play a tune, all one needs to do is say “play” and then state the name of the artist. To contact someone, just press the button and say the word “call” followed by the name of the contact.

Finally, when connected to a smartphone, just say “tune” and then the name of the internet radio or the name of the station. For those who have the Stitcher SmartRadio and the PANDORA internet radio, users can personalize and make their own radio station using their preferred genres or artists.

With this, users can also retrieve more than thousands of audio programming choices and this creates their very own customized listening experience. With the IntelliLink, control of these two apps is integrated resulting in a more driver-directed listening experience. Another app is the Gracenote which helps identify the music collection inside a MP3 player, USB device, or smartphone.

Once that is done, the app then displays a number of information on the IntelliLink screen that includes the name of the artist, the genre, and even the cover art of the album. This allows the users to choose music that is similar to what they love. In addition, Gracenote manages to improve the accuracy of the voice activation system by IntelliLink. The user can access the desired music by simply stating the nickname of the artists like “Snoop”, “The Boss”, or even “The Stones”. The voice control interface of IntelliLink can be accessed by simply using the touch screen or the buttons on the steering wheel.

USB connectivity has been upgraded and it now has the ability to directly play any music files from any flash memory device. This also allows customers to easily update their IntelliLink when feature improvements are available. While the GMC IntelliLink continues to have the capability present in many of the current entertainment units, it also adds to the already comprehensive list of the available and standard features of the Terrian.

An example of this technology is the rear-vision camera that enables one to look at objects or people who are behind the vehicle. There is also the power liftgate that can be programmed and set to open to a much lower height. This allows it to clear any garage obstructions or even make it easy to reach especially for those who have shorter stature. With the remote vehicle start, it is possible to immediately cool down the Terrain during a hot afternoon in August or even heat it on a January morning. The XM Satellite Radio, which comes equipped as standard, offers coast-to-coast music. USB audio connectivity is offered as a standard as well as MP3 playback for any portable music player.

All that needs to be done is to plug it in and then control the features straight from the radio. There are also controls placed on the steering wheel. This is also true for any USB thumb drive or any USB enabled storage devices. Finally another technology is the GMC IntelliLink, whose design has clearly been inspired from the easy-to-use and intuitive interfaces seen on many standard consumer electronics today.

Looking at the home page, it is clear where the influence is from especially with the application icons that immediately animate when it is activated. The technical and structured graphics of the touch screen and the grey-and-red color combination bring to mind the professional grade personality the brand is known for. These also add to the bold exterior style of the Terrain.

Press Release

GMC IntelliLink Enhances Terrain’s Connectivity Capability

GMC, the brand known for professional grade capability and engineering excellence, is taking in-vehicle connectivity to the next level on the 2012 Terrain. The small SUV with segment-leading fuel economy will expand its already-extensive list of standard and available features in late 2011 with a simple-to-use, customizable infotainment system and expanded wireless capability.

The 2012 Terrain will be the first vehicle to offer GMC IntelliLink, which uses Bluetooth or USB to connect the driver’s smartphone to Terrain’s new seven-inch, high-resolution, full-color touch screen display radio. IntelliLink expands on the current Terrain’s Bluetooth and USB capabilities to allow smartphone control via voice activation and steering wheel-mounted controls, and streaming stereo audio from the phone through services like PANDORA® internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio®.

Most importantly, IntelliLink enables seamless integration of stowed portable devices with Terrain’s infotainment system, allowing drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

“Today’s car buyers don’t want to settle for mass market radio, and they don’t have to,” said John Schwegman, U.S. vice president of GMC Marketing. “They expect to have access to personalized media wherever they are, and the introduction of GMC IntelliLink on Terrain makes media personalization easier than ever.”

Consumer interest in onboard connectivity is rising with smartphone sales. Apple sold 16.2 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2010, and Android sales jumped 886 percent from 2009 to 2010. Two and a half years ago, only one in 10 Americans had a smartphone. By the end of 2013, there will be 1.1 billion smartphones, with annual sales of 300 million units, according to research firm Parks Associates Industries.

“About 70 percent of all new car buyers want some form of connectivity,” said Micky Bly, executive director leading GM’s infotainment engineering efforts, citing GM research. “Whether it’s because they want to listen to their favorite music or hear movie times on the way to the theater, today’s car buyer expects so much more out of their time in a car.”

One doesn’t need a smartphone to benefit from IntelliLink. The system works with a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone, USB flash drive or digital audio player. Even without a mobile device, GMC owners will benefit from IntelliLink’s enhanced voice recognition technology and OnStar’s on-screen turn-by-turn directions.

The new benefits provided by GMC IntelliLink include:

Enhanced hands-free voice control system powered by Nuance®, which allows simple voice commands to initiate phone calls and select radio stations or media from portable MP3 players and smartphones. A tap of a button on the steering wheel enables intuitive verbal control of many radio features like “play (artist name)” or “call (name of contact)”. When a smart phone is connected you can say “tune (internet radio, station name).”
PANDORA internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio allow users to create personalized radio stations based on favorite artists or genres and enables access to thousands of audio programming choices allowing customers to build a personalized listening experience. IntelliLink integrates control of both of these apps for a driver-directed listening experience.

Gracenote® identifies the music collection on the driver’s USB device, MP3 player or smartphone and presents information such as artist name, genres and album cover art on the IntelliLink screen and enables users to select similar music to the tunes they love. Gracenote also improves the accuracy of IntelliLink’s voice activation system by allowing users to access music using artist nicknames, such as “The Boss,” “The Stones,” or “Snoop” using IntelliLink’s voice control interfaces activated through the touch-screen or steering wheel buttons.

Upgraded USB connectivity adds the ability to play music files directly from flash memory devices, and gives the customer the ability to update IntelliLink with future feature enhancements.

GMC IntelliLink retains all the capabilities of today’s entertainment units, and adds to Terrain’s comprehensive list of standard and available features, which includes purposeful technologies such as:

Standard rear-vision camera that provides a view of objects or people directly behind the vehicle
Standard USB audio connectivity and MP3 playback for your portable music player – plug it in and control the features right from the radio or the optional steering wheel controls and USB thumb drives or (say USB enabled storage devices)
Standard XM Satellite Radio, which provides coast-to-coast tunes
Programmable power liftgate that can be set to open to a lower height, clearing garage obstructions or making it easier to reach for those of shorter stature
Remote vehicle start that can be used to automatically heat up a cold Terrain on a January morning, or cool it down on a hot August afternoon.
GMC IntelliLink’s designers drew inspiration from the intuitive, easy-to-use interfaces found on many popular consumer electronics. The influence can be seen on the home page with application icons that animate when activated. The touch screen’s structured, technical graphics and red-and-grey color combination evoke GMC’s “professional grade” personality and Terrain’s bold exterior styling.

The debut of GMC IntelliLink extends the OnStar experience from safety and security to information and entertainment by seamlessly integrating the capability of a smartphone into the vehicle so that hand-held phones may be safely stowed while driving.

When OnStar debuted in 1996, it pioneered in-vehicle connectivity with the auto industry’s first embedded telematics system. It has grown from primarily offering automatic crash notification and security features to include remote vehicle diagnostics, turn-by-turn navigation and the ability to slow down stolen vehicles. In November 2010, OnStar released a smartphone application for all 2011 GMC vehicles that incorporated remote start, lock/unlock, and vehicle status checks.

Topics: buick, gmc, infotainment

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