It's no great revelation that mobile devices are playing an ever more prominent role in our lives. A quick scan of online automotive forums shows even often new-car purchase decisions can be influenced by a car's compatibility and integration with the prospective buyer's smartphone of choice. So rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, or in this case, the map, Kia decided to go with one of the best-known brand names for online maps, Google.
Kia's new UVO eServices suite with Google Maps will initially roll out in the 2014 Sorento SUV, due in showrooms in the first quarter of 2013. A new feature of the second-generation UVO system is the interactivity and app-based integration with the user's smartphone, allowing for communication between the smartphone and the vehicle, even from outside the vehicle. With the new Send2Car feature of the UVO smartphone app, points of interest or map destinations can be sent directly to the car.
In addition to the Google integration, UVO with eServices also includes vehicle diagnostics, automatic 911 connect in the case of airbag deployment, and a parking minder function to help owners find their car if they forgot where they parked.
Somewhat ironically, UVO eServices will initially be compatible only with the iPhone, with Android compatibility expected to follow in the second quarter of 2013. UVO eServices will also be available in the upcoming 2014 Forte sedan.
Separately, corporate cousin Hyundai also announced the availability of Google Maps on future models, but did not specify which models would receive the feature first.