Kia Motors took to Las Vegas this week instead of focusing its efforts in Detroit to introduce its second generation of its UVO voice-command infotainment system. In its newest iteration, it will feature in-car telematics and vehicle diagnostics services called eServices that is designed to integrate with a free smartphone app.
“UVO was a breakthrough for Kia, and signaled the brand’s ambitious plans to become an in-vehicle technology leader by enabling drivers and passengers to use all of their personal technologies more safely and easily, while creating additional entertainment experiences,” said UVO head Henry Bzeih in a statement. “With smartphone penetration nearing 50 percent in the U.S., UVO eServices extends our award-winning system’s abilities far beyond the original offerings by utilizing one of the industry’s first app-based approaches for telematics. The development focus for UVO eServices was to deliver the connectivity, services, and notifications valued by vehicle owners while also adding safety features, diagnostic information and innovations such as our parked vehicle locator to create user-friendly experiences that exceed people’s expectations.”
Kia’s second-gen system takes what was a minimalistic approach to infotainment and adds car-to-person communication that relays the car’s vitals in an easier-to-understand package. At the Consumer Electronics Show, Kia showed its new UVO in a 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid sedan. Other new features include:
- eServices guide: Places a phone call to an interactive voice response system to provide instructions.
- Care Care Web: Online via a computer or smartphone, vehicle owners can check their car’s diagnostics, maintenance schedules, driving patterns, My Car Zone alerts, and schedule appointments with a dealer.
- An eServices competition online between owners to rank the greenest drivers.
- Send2Car: The ability to send Google Maps to a car’s navigation system via Bluetooth.
- Crash Notification Assist: In the event of an accident, UVO will dial 911 to notify authorities. Owners have the ability to cancel it within 10 seconds of the Crash Notification Assist activating.
- My Car Zone: Owners receive detailed reports of where their cars are when they’re not using them, integrating geo fencing that will notify the car’s primary driver if it goes outside a certain predetermined area or higher than a set speed and a report where a car was. So no, your teenage son probably won’t want to take the family’s Kia Optima to his local make-out spot anymore after finding that out.
- Park Assist: Ever lose your car? Kia’s new app will help you find it again in a crowded parking lot via a smartphone map, even sounding the alarm should you choose.
Update: See below for a comparison of the old UVO and new version. Kia’s Henry Bzeih says to expect it to start appearing in 2014 model Kia vehicles.