Ford won't be the only automaker in the U.S. to have Microsoft technology underhood for long, as Hyundai has hooked up with the software giant on new infotainment technology partnership. The first new jointly produced system will provide voice-controlled connectivity between mobile devices for Hyundai and Kia vehicles beginning in 2010. Microsoft will also work with Korea's Institute for IT Advancement to open an Automotive IT Innovation Centre in Seoul. The Korean auto giant will partner with Microsoft on auto telecommunication, telematics, navigation systems, and improving Human Machine Interface technology.

Recent developments in automotive technology show that infotainment tech like Ford's SYNC and BMW's in-car Internet systems are hot. Microsoft appears to be capitalizing on the new trend by netting a second automotive partner, while Hyundai gets the new interactive tech that customers are craving. If its cars are anything to go by, Hyundai's version of the technology will probably cost less and do more.

[Source: Hyundai]

PRESS RELEASE:

Following the agreement between Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group (HKAG) and Microsoft Corp. to develop the next generation of in-car infotainment systems, both companies have joined forces with Korea's Institute for IT Advancement to open a dedicated Automotive IT Innovation Centre (AIIC).

The AIIC will be located within HKAG's new research facilities in Uiwang City, south of Seoul. HKAG and Microsoft will use the AIIC to develop new technology such as auto telecommunication, telematics, navigation systems and Location Based Service (LBS), and improving Human Machine Interface (HMI), all of which will be uncovered in the near future.

The first product, developed at the new centre, will provide voice-controlled connectivity between mobile devices, and will be launched into the North American Market in 2010, soon followed by the Asian and European Markets. The infotainment systems will allow consumers to enjoy music in various digital formats.

Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft said of the collaboration with HKAG; "Microsoft and Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group share a similar vision for the role that information technology will play in connecting people to information, communications, and entertainment while they are in their cars.

"We're excited by the opportunities this new Automotive IT Innovation Centre will create for Microsoft, Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, and Institute for Information Technology to continue to work together to develop new innovations that will make the time that people spend in their cars more productive and enjoyable than ever before." he added.

Kia Motors has also announced that it is a global sponsor of RoboChamps 2008, Microsoft's virtual-world robotics competition. For more information on RoboChamps, please visit www.robochamps.com.

For now we will have to sit tight, and wait patiently until the next generation of in-car infotainment systems are launched!

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