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AOL Autos Tech Of The Year Logo

AOL Autos today announces six finalists for its 2012 Technology of the Year Award, which will be awarded to one Grand Prize winner in January at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

In its first year, the AOL Autos Technology of The Year Award panel is judging emerging automotive-industry technology in the categories of telematics, connectivity and passive safety.

AOL Autos Editor-in-Chief David Kiley says the time is perfect to start judging automotive technology for consumers. “We are seeing automakers putting more and more new and unfamiliar technology into vehicles, and these new systems are making and breaking the reputations of brands,” says Kiley. “It used to be that noise, interior designs, fits and finish and engine performance were the big differentiators, but we are seeing headline-grabbing quality scores rise and fall based on how seamlessly consumers’ smart-phones connect to the car.”

The AOL Autos Technology of the Year judging panel, made up of journalists from AOL Autos, Autoblog and Engadget, received nominations for new or substantially upgraded technology that had to be available in vehicles on sale between September 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012.

AOL Autos received more than 30 nominations of new and updated technology. Starting today, the public will be asked to review articles and videos showing each Technology of the Year finalist on Autos.AOL.com/award, and they will be asked to vote on the technology they find the most compelling. The winner of that consumer vote will have the weight of one judge out of 17 judges on the panel.

AOL Autos is proud to present the following as finalists for our first Technology of the Year Award:

Telematics

In the category of telematics, the two finalists are:

Cadillac CUE: CUE, offered this year in the all-new XTS and ATS models, as well as the revamped SRX crossover, comprises a glass cockpit with touchscreen, voice control, three USB jacks plus an SD slot. There’s an 8-inch LCD touchscreen in the center stack with a capacitive touch panel below with 14 “buttons.” There are mechanical buttons for flashers and engine start. The LCD display icons in the instrument panel can be moved around, with favorites promoted to the top row, and non-favorites reduced or removed. The CUE system has been a breakthrough for ease of use, Technology of the Year judges agreed. Even while the system represents a leap for Cadillac and GM in terms of change from previous Cadillacs, GM engineers distinguished themselves by delivering a refined system for controlling the car and integrating a smart-phone that is a leader in simplicity and ease-of use.

Audi connect with Google Maps Street View: Audi connect was not new for 2012, but the addition of Google Earth imaging into the system was, and it is an upgrade that was met with nearly unanimous votes from the Technology of the Year judging panel. The Google Maps integration allows the driver to see high resolution, 3-D terrain and aerial images of routes. The onboard navigation system combines 3-D terrain models with a detailed street network and it seamlessly calculates routes.

Connectivity

In the category of connectivity, the two finalists are:

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