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Google Maps to be integrated in KIA Motors vehicles


Kia Motors America (KMA) will work with Google to provide content and search-based solutions enabled by Application Program Interfaces (APIs) for the second-generation of the automaker’s innovative UVO (“Your voice”) eServices telematics system.  These new solutions will initially be introduced on the new 2014 Sorento CUV.  The immediate integration of Google solutions will utilize Google Maps and Google Places to acquire driving directions and locate Points of Interest (POIs). KMA and Google look forward to continuing to work together to bring innovative navigation solutions to enhance the connected car experience.

Available with the 2014 Sorento CUV, the new Google-powered UVO system will serve Kia owners whether they are in their cars or away from them.  Enabled by the Send2Car feature, Kia owners can send a POI or destination to their car directly from the Google Maps via their smartphone UVO app.  At launch, the Apple iPhone® will be the only UVO eServices compatible device. Apple iOS6 compatibility is expected early 2013. Additional compatible devices expected late 2013. From within the car, Kia owners will benefit from Google Places, which will provide POI and destination resources such as a dealership location, and Google Maps, which will provide directions to virtually anywhere and everywhere a car can travel.

The newest iteration of the UVO platform is a breakthrough as one of the industry’s first mobile pure app-based telematics systems, and now with the Google solutions and APIs, we take the platform to yet another level of enhancement for the Kia customer. Due to the popularity and ease-of-use of Google Maps, owners can remain confident in the technology and information being delivered to them. – Henry Bzeih, head of the connected car program and chief technology strategist, KMA.

UVO continues to offer drivers hands-free mobile phone management capabilities and hands-free control of music from a variety of media sources, including CD, radio, USB, media player, and the Digital Jukebox.  With UVO eServices, users will now be able to control the 2014 Sorento’s on-board navigation system through voice commands when the vehicle is outfitted with the UVO eServices/navigation package.  Also new with UVO eServices is an enhanced telematics suite that offers a number of maintenance and infotainment functions, including 911 Connect, enhanced Roadside Assist, Automatic Diagnostics, Manual Diagnostics, Scheduled Diagnostics, vehicle maintenance, and eServices Guide, many of which are run through the owner’s Smartphone equipped with the UVO eServices app available at no charge.

Advanced Voice Recognition enables to operate many of UVO eServices functions, including the Sorento’s voice activated navigation system.  USB connectivity allows users to download music files from a memory stick into the Digital Jukebox.  The large eight-inch touch screen is easy to operate and incorporates Sorento’s rear camera display, Infinity® Premium Sound System and My POIs (personal Points of Interest via online maps), a feature that makes it easy to customize the owner’s most visited locations.  UVO eServices is compatible with iPhone® at launch and Android® phones are expected to be compatible in the second quarter of 2013.

Key Features of UVO eServices:

  • Google Integration: Utilization of Google Maps and Google Places to provide direction and location information.
  • eServices Guide:  Accessed via the touch-screen or voice command, eServices Guide places a phone call via Bluetooth® hands free connectivity to a voice response system that explains UVO eServices to the driver in an interactive manner.
  • Car Care Web:  Through the UVO eServices owner’s portal, known as “Car Care Web,” owners can check vehicle diagnostics, vehicle status, maintenance schedules, driving behavior, and schedule appointments with their preferred or nearby dealer via their home computer or mobile device.  Owners also can earn awards for safe and eco-friendly driving viewable on Car Care Web should they rank high enough among their fellow UVO eServices owners.
  • My POI:  Also available to UVO eServices owners is My POI, a feature that allows owners to send a destination from Google Maps through their Smartphone to their UVO eServices vehicle.  In the convenience of their home or office, the customer selects a destination from the Web via Google Maps; once the customer’s Smartphone receives the destination it will send the destination to the vehicle’s navigation system the next time the Smartphone is paired via Bluetooth® wireless technology.  In addition, all destinations sent from Google Maps will be copied to the owner’s Car Care Web. (My POI is only available with UVO eServices vehicles equipped with navigation).
  • Parking Minder: If the driver happens to forget where they parked the car, the Parking Minder function helps find it by sending the location of the vehicle to the driver’s phone.  If preferred, the owner also can take pictures of the surrounding area for reference, write a reminder note, email his or her location and set an alarm if the car is parked at a meter.  To guide the owner back, the UVO eServices Smartphone app will display the owner and the vehicle’s locations on a map.
  • Vehicle Diagnostics:  If UVO’s eServices identifies a problem by way of the Automatic Diagnostics function, it will communicate the vehicle’s issue(s) and its location to Kia’s 24/7 call center or will schedule an appointment online with the nearest Kia dealership upon user request. With Manual Diagnostics, at the owner’s preference, UVO eServices can connect the user with Kia’s 24/7 call center or schedule an appointment online with the nearest Kia dealership, should an issue be found.  Additionally, the user can take advantage of Scheduled Diagnostics from their Smartphone, setting a monthly diagnostic check of the vehicle.  Upon completion, any issues found are automatically forwarded to Car Care Web.
  • 911 Connect: In case of an airbag deployment, the Crash Notification Assist function will alert emergency services.  During a 10-second window, the driver has the option to cancel the call, otherwise UVO eServices will dial 9-1-1, read the vehicle’s location out loud to the emergency services operator and allow the operator to speak with the vehicle occupants.

Following the introduction of UVO eServices in the Sorento, the system will be offered in other models in the Kia lineup, including the all-new 2014 Forte sedan.

Romain Nicolas opinion:

This device is clearly following the new generation’s technological trend, to say the connectivity to everything, everywhere. It is a great thing. However, I am afraid that it will distract the driver and may become responsible for some accidents. Fortunately 911 will be alerted as soon as the crash is detected! Do you think UVO eServices will be adopted by drivers and accepted by authorities?


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