At the recent Consumer Telematics Show in Las Vegas, Henry Bzeih, head of Infotainment and Telematics for Kia in America, made some big claims about the future of information technology in cars — namely that he and Kia expect that Google will play an increasingly big role in the market. With Google’s investments in cloud computing, it makes a lot of sense, and Kia sees a partnership as a good thing for drivers.
Kia announced officially the debut of their second-generation UVO information and entertainment system. The new version of the system, which allows drivers to manipulate many of the technical features of their vehicle with voice commands, will first be available in the new 2014 Kia Sorento crossover. While UVO was developed through a partnership between Kia and Microsoft, the new generation of the technology will include applications that can access both Google Places and Google Maps.
While the UVO system will not include a web browser, a lot of online content and functions can be accessed through existing smartphone apps. The new UVO system also gets technology that lets you stream audio from your smartphone. It also gets upgraded voice-recognition capabilities, and can now provide vehicle-diagnostic information and parking-location information.
Bzeih also made a few predictions about the future of automotive technology. He said that he expects machine-to-machine, or M2M, communication to dramatically effect the way that we live our lives. Bzeih envisions a future where our smartphones, computers, and tablets are all rolled into one multifunction device and our cars and electronics are constantly communicating to provide a consistently connected experience.
Chances are that this could only mean a more convenient and safer driving experience. Imagine this kind of situation: you climb into your brand new Kia Sportage and you are greeted by your fifth-generation UVO system. You tell it to take you to your friend Bill’s house and to text him that you’re on the way. The Sportage, which is seamlessly integrated to your contacts, simply looks up Bill, finds his number and address, and navigates there using Google Maps. You sit back and browse Facebook, make a reservation for dinner later, and buy tickets to a show. Maybe the Sportage even makes you a cup of coffee. The future is practically just around the corner, and who knows what awaits us?