Hands-on with Kia UVO2

Kia is rolling out the second generation of its UVO infotainment system before we could really get to know the original, but UVO2 is packing all the advanced telematics and connectivity features of its competitors – or at least it will when it ships later this year.

We had a chance to sample the lower-spec version of UVO2 in an Optima Hybrid, and overall, it's an improvement over its predecessor both in terms of polish and features.

Included in UVO2 is automatic crash notification, road-side assistance, service reminders and tracking, along with geo-fencing, speed warnings and a curfew setting that lets you know when the kiddies stray too far, go too fast or stay out late.

Along with the normal raft of music and navigation features, there's a companion iPhone app that keeps track of maintenance and notifications. It also includes a vehicle finder that automatically logs the vehicle's last location and lets you find it using a nifty augmented reality feature. Get more details in the press blast and hands-on video after the jump.

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Second Generation Infotainment System Builds on Award-Winning Foundation with Addition of New Smartphone-Based Connectivity

Free smartphone app will provide new levels of connected car experiences, including telematics, parked vehicle locator and advanced vehicle relationship management

UVO eServices incorporates a suite of new safety and security features such as crash notification assistance, roadside assistance, curfew limit and speed alert

LAS VEGAS, January 10, 2012 - Kia Motors America (KMA) today unveiled UVO eServices, the next iteration of the company's innovative voice-activated infotainment system, during the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Showcased in Kia's stunning Optima Hybrid midsize sedan, UVO eServices represents an evolution from the original UVO system's capabilities, adding a new telematics suite ("eServices") that is powered by a free smartphone app that will provide drivers with an innovative in-vehicle connectivity experience including navigation, diagnostics capabilities and added convenience features. Powered by Microsoft®1 , UVO is short for "Your Voice," and provides consumers easy-to-use voice and touch-activated experiences to manage music files and hands-free mobile phone operation. Also at CES, KMA debuted the In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) concept, which demonstrates Kia's forward-thinking technology and concepts in the realm of connected car.

"UVO was a breakthrough for Kia, and signaled the brand's ambitious plans to become an in-vehicle technology leader by enabling drivers and passengers to use all of their personal technologies more safely and easily, while creating additional entertainment experiences," said Henry Bzeih, who heads the connected car program for KMA. "With smartphone penetration nearing 50-percent in the U.S., UVO eServices extends our award-winning system's abilities far beyond the original offerings by utilizing one of the industry's first app-based approaches for telematics. The development focus for UVO eServices was to deliver the connectivity, services and notifications valued by vehicle owners while also adding safety features, diagnostic information and innovations such as our parked vehicle locator to create user-friendly experiences that exceed people's expectations."

UVO continues to offer drivers hands-free mobile phone management capabilities and hands-free control of music from a variety of media sources, including CD, radio, USB, media player, and the Digital Jukebox. Users will now be able to control the on-board navigation system through voice commands when the vehicle is outfitted with the UVO eServices/navigation package. Also new with UVO eServices is an enhanced telematics suite, which includes a number of maintenance, and infotainment functions, including Crash Notification Assist, Roadside Assist, Automatic Diagnostics, Manual Diagnostics, Scheduled Diagnostics, vehicle maintenance, eServices Guide, Trip Info, safe- and eco-friendly driving awards, Send2Car, Curfew Limit, Speed Alert, Geo Fencing, Car Care Web and Park Assist. These functions, with the exception of eServices Guide and Crash Notification Assist, are run through the owner's smartphone equipped with the free UVO eServices app.

Key Features of UVO eServices:

eServices Guide: accessed via the touch-screen or voice command, eServices Guide places a phone call to a voice response system that explains UVO eServices to the driver in an interactive manner.

Car Care Web: Through the UVO eServices owner's portal, known as "Car Care Web," owners can check vehicle diagnostics, vehicle status, maintenance schedules, driving behavior, My Car Zone alerts, and schedule appointments with their preferred or nearby dealer via their home computer or mobile device. Owners also can earn awards for safe and eco-friendly driving viewable on Car Care Web should they rank high enough among their fellow UVO eServices owners.

Send2Car: Also available to UVO eServices owners is Send2Car, a feature that allows owners to send a destination from Google Maps to their smart phone. After the phone receives the destination, it will send the destination to the vehicle's navigation system the next time the phone is paired via Bluetooth®2 wireless technology. In addition, all destinations sent from Google Maps will be copied to the owner's Car Care Web. (Send2Car is only available with UVO eServices vehicles equipped with navigation).

Vehicle Diagnostics: If UVO's eServices identifies a problem by way of the Automatic Diagnostics function, it will communicate the vehicle's list of issues and its location to Kia's 24/7 call center or will schedule an appointment online with the nearest Kia dealership upon user request. With Manual Diagnostics, at the owner's preference, UVO eServices can connect the user with Kia's 24/7 call center or schedule an appointment online with the nearest Kia dealership, should an issue be found. Additionally, the user can take advantage of Scheduled Diagnostics from their smartphone, setting a monthly diagnostic check of the vehicle. Upon completion, any issues found are automatically forwarded to Car Care Web.

Crash Notification Assist: In case of an airbag deployment, the Crash Notification Assist function will alert emergency services. After a 10-second delay, during which time the driver has the option to cancel the call, UVO will dial 9-1-1, read the vehicle's location out loud to the emergency services operator and allow the operator to speak with the vehicle occupants.

My Car Zone: UVO eServices also helps drivers stay up to date on their vehicle's whereabouts while away from the car. Curfew Limits in terms of time stamps or even GPS coordinates through 'Geo Fencing' (a predetermined area plotted in the navigation system) can be set. If the car leaves that area or is used outside of predetermined hours, the owner receives a detailed alert on his or her smartphone the next time the driver pairs the phone with the vehicle via Bluetooth® wireless technology. The Speed Watch function also allows owners to set a predetermined maximum speed for the car, and receive an alert if exceeded, while the smartphone app adds a trip-information function that gives a summary of total and individual journey distances and times.

Park Assist: If the driver happens to forget where they parked the car, the Park Assist function helps find it by sending the location of the vehicle when it is parked to the driver's phone. If preferred, the owner also can take pictures of the surrounding area for reference, write a reminder note, email his or her location and set an alarm if the car is parked at a meter. To guide the owner back, the UVO eServices smartphone app will display the owner and the vehicle's locations on a map. Optionally, the owner can look through the phone's integrated camera where an icon on the phone's screen will point to the vehicle's location.
In-Vehicle Infotainment Concept
Kia's all-new IVI concept, intended to deliver navigation, media playback and networked computer functions all from a single unit, is designed to be the hub of a vehicle's information and entertainment systems and represents a glimpse into the future of IVI systems.

Featuring wireless connectivity with smartphones and tablets, an integrated app store, user-recognition system and augmented reality navigation, as well as a combination of touch- and speech-interface options controlled principally through an 11.6-inch multi-touch screen, Kia's IVI concept allows users to transfer music, contacts and directions between smartphone or tablets and the vehicle. In addition, once the user's smartphone or tablet is synced with the vehicle, many of the device's features and apps become available through the IVI system. The IVI concept also features revolutionary wireless charging, enabling users to charge devices without the need for conventional wired chargers. The key features of Kia's IVI concept include navigation, media, smart device interlock, and an app store.

Key Features of the IVI Concept:

Navigation: Working in conjunction with exterior vehicle cameras, downloadable apps, and the in-car voice recognition system, the IVI concept features an augmented reality navigation system. This system takes satellite navigation a step further, providing clear and concise turn-by-turn directions, including information such as POIs, as well as integrating a traffic-signal recognition system onto a virtual map on the center screen.

Media: In addition to the online Pandora music service, the IVI system is capable of playing a multitude of music and movie formats, all of which can be controlled through the voice recognition system.

Smart Device Interlock: The Smart Device Interlock effectively tethers the user's smartphone to the IVI system via a specially developed app. Once the device and IVI are linked, the user can download information about their car, including where it is parked, send and receive route instructions and browse media in the car.

App Store: Accessing the app store via the icon on the main menu of the IVI concept, users can download a variety of apps to suit their needs, such as weather updates, news, navigation or games.

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