Later this week, at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft and Kia are scheduled to demonstrate UVO. Developed in collaboration by the two companies, Kia UVO, short for 'Your Voice, is essentially a car infotainment system powered by Microsoft technology. The Redmond giant has a long history of collaborating with members of the automotive industry in order to deliver infotainment experiences to drivers, and the work the company did with Ford's for the SYNC system is an illustrative example in this regard.
UVO is similarly focused on simplifying the way in which drivers access and consume in-car entertainment, as well as on streamlining in-car communication. Microsoft is making UVO possible, as the infotainment system is built on the company’s Windows Embedded Auto software platform.
"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," revealed Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing, KMA. "Collaborating with Microsoft, Kia Motors is able to offer drivers an experience that will provide our cars with a clear competitive advantage."
Microsoft and KIA made it a point to emphasize that UVO is the first in-vehicle solution that integrates in full the software giant’s intelligent speech engine technology. While it will be demoed at CES 2010 this week, UVO will only be available to customers in the second half of 2010. Customers that will acquire 2011 Kia Sorento CUV starting this summer will also get UVO, KIA promised.
UVO will permit drivers to enjoy a variety of features, including advanced speech recognition, natural interface advancements, custom media experiences with MyMusic, rear backup camera and the ability to continuously update features and services, according to KIA. Specifically, UVO will allow both passengers and drivers to access music files and swap radio stations without taking their hands off the wheel. In addition, UVO supports making and answering phone calls, and will even permit users to send and receive SMS text messages while driving via the voice-activated controls powered by Microsoft speech recognition technology. UVO features touch capabilities and advanced speech recognition and comes equipped with a 4.3-inch full-color display screen, an MP3 player, and an AM/FM and satellite radio.
"We are very excited with the customized approach Kia Motors is bringing to in-car infotainment," added Kevin Dallas, general manager of Microsoft's Windows Embedded Business division. "Kia's UVO system demonstrates how the power of Windows Embedded technology can keep consumers connected to the devices, information and entertainment that matters to them most."