Last week, we reported Kia would introduce a competitor to Ford’s Sync called UVO. The South Korean company has officially unveiled the system — set to debut this summer– and gave us a first glimpse at some of the features available.
Kia’s UVO runs on the same Microsoft Windows-embedded auto software as Ford’s Sync, but includes features not seen on Sync, as Kia spokespeople said it would. One of the key features seen on UVO is Microsoft’s new advanced speech recognition software. This software recognizes the operator’s voice (up to two different operators) and creates a personal profile for the person. With this profile, the system trains itself to recognize various commands from the user and create shortcuts. The software can even recognize several languages and creates the profile in the language used.
Another advanced feature of Kia’s UVO is the system’s ability to adapt to new devices. Kia will provide updates to the system so users can stay current in MP3 and cell phone technology without the fear UVO may not be compatible with future devices. The updates will be provided in a number of ways, including over-the-air updates,, so users can choose whichever is most convenient.
In addition to advanced voice recognition and continuous updates, UVO provides users with access to music, phone books, and vehicle information. This is accessed via voice commands and a 4.3-inch color LCD screen that displays the selected information and acts as a display for the backup camera. The display gives passengers and drivers an alternative way to access information contained in UVO and aids the user in pairing devices.
“UVO powered by Microsoft is a breakthrough for in-vehicle infotainment that helps allow drivers and passengers to safely and easily use all of their personal technologies to create personalized in-vehicle communications and entertainment experiences,” said Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing at Kia Motors America. “Collaborating with Microsoft, Kia Motors is able to offer drivers an experience that will provide our cars with a clear competitive advantage.”
Kia will initially launch UVO in the new 2011 Kia Sorento that goes on sale this summer. After its initial launch in the Sorento, the technology will be expanded to vehicles throughout Kia’s lineup.