Kia has officially unveiled the UVO, a new infotainment system set to compete with Ford's Sync. The UVO will run on Microsoft Windows embedded auto software that's identical to Ford's Sync. However, it has features that are not seen on Sync.
The UVO will have Microsoft's new advanced speech recognition software, which recognizes the operator's voice (up to two different operators) and creates a personal profile for the person.
Using this profile, the system is trained to recognize commands from the user and create shortcuts. The software is also able to recognize several languages and then creates the profile in the language used.
The UVO has an advanced feature -- the ability to adapt to new devices. Updates can be provided to the system so that users would be able to stay current in MP3 and cell phone technology.
What this means is that the system could be made compatible with future devices. These updates can be received in various ways (even over-the-air updates) so users can choose the most convenient one for them.
Aside from the advanced voice recognition feature and continuous updates, users are given access to music, phonebooks, and vehicle information via voice commands.
To display selected information and images from the backup camera, there is a 4.3-inch color LCD screen. The display can be considered an alternative way to access information that's contained in UVO and it also aids in pairing devices.
Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing at Kia Motors America, said that the Microsoft-powered UVO is a breakthrough for in-vehicle infotainment, as it encourages drivers and passengers to safely and easily use all of their personal technologies to create personalized in-vehicle communications and entertainment experiences.
Sprague says that the collaboration with Microsoft has given its cars a "clear competitive advantage." The UVO will be initially launched in the new 2011 Kia Sorento that goes on sale this summer. Eventually, the technology will be seen in vehicles throughout Kia's lineup.