Kia Motors Ford Sync-like system called “UVO powered by Microsoft” may be one to watch. It’s due to hit this summer as a factory install in the 2011 Kia Sorento followed by other Kia models and it just won Kia the 2009-2010 Industry Newcomer Award at the Telematics Update conference. Why do we care? Former winners were the Ford Sync and Autonet Mobile (maker of the potable WiFi hotspot)—not exactly technology slouches. Kia owns under 3 percent of the global car market, but its U.S. market share has been growing steadily.
The new UVO system has many of the same features offered in the original Ford Sync, another Microsoft based system. Kia’s UVO also comes with a rear vision back up system. It provides voice driven search through music and uses voice input to switch modes and make Bluetooth calls. It reads aloud text messages and lets you respond with a canned message such as “I’m driving now and will respond later.” You can ask the system, “What’s playing?” It also offers Sirius satellite radio and comes with a 4.3-inch color display. It integrates via USB with an iPod, Zune, flash drive, etc.
Other award winners at the Telematics Show are here.
Sources: Kia Motors and WardsAuto.com