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Hyundai and Kia Add Google Maps and Search: CES

  • Google integration with Hyundai Blue Link and Kia UVO.
  • More services from Blue Link thanks to Google Maps and Places.
  • Offered first on the 2014 Kia Sorento crossover.

Hyundai and Kia drivers will likely find destinations more easily once Google Maps data and functionality are added to the automakers’ in-car connectivity platforms.

Both Hyundai’s Blue Link and Kia’s UVO telematics system will benefit from the integration of Google Maps, but the 2014 Kia Sorento crossover will be the first production vehicle from either brand to include the Google-enabled system.

It will allow drivers to find local points of interest, send directions to the vehicle directly from a smartphone or find a route using Google’s unmatched database of U.S. places and the roads that connect them.

Because Google is constantly updating to provide users with the best and most accurate search results and information, the technology giant may be the ideal partner for automakers. Others such as Nissan, Audi and Mercedes-Benz have also leveraged Google to make the most of in-car connectivity. Tarun Bhatnagar, head of Enterprise Geo at Google, indicated that Google is keen to make its maps more widely available to drivers.

“We’re always looking for ways to make it easier for people to discover more relevant information to help them make informed choices — whether that’s where to go for a coffee, or where to take dry cleaning,” said Bhatnagar. “It’s great to see that more drivers now have access to fresh, web-based content while on the go with the Hyundai Blue Link Google Maps integration.”

At least drivers will have that access once Hyundai adds Google Maps to Blue Link. For now, the automaker has not announced when — or on what model — the improved Blue Link will debut. Kia has announced two models that will soon be available with Google-enabled UVO telematics, however. The new Sorento will arrive in the next few months, while a completely redesigned Elantra with the updated UVO system will follow.

For many drivers, a Google Maps app running on a smartphone already serves as backup when a vehicle’s navigation system fails to find a local place. With the integration of Google into the vehicle’s telematics system, drivers will find better information from the start — all without fumbling with a handheld device.

What it means to you: Hyundai’s Blue Link and Kia’s UVO systems may help drivers to find places and get directions more quickly and easily, thanks to Google Maps integration. Look for it soon in the 2014 Kia Sorento.


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