Following a similar path to Nokia and Apple, Google is looking to expand its services into the automobile industry, today announcing a partnership with Korean car manufacturer Kia Motors to integrate its Google Maps and Place services into Kia’s new UVO eServices telematics system, rolling out in new models later this year.
Google’s APIs will power systems included in Kia’s new 2014 Sorento CUV models, providing car owners with turn-by-turn directions but also assisting with the location of nearby points-of-interest. The Sorrento goes on sale in Q1 2013.
Kia has developed its own UVO smartphone app — which is ironically only available for iPhone at launch — which will connect to the Sorrento’s telematic system via its new Send-to-Car feature, beaming over mapping data from the handset directly to the car. The Android app is expected to launch in the second quarter.
Kia’s UVO also provides hands-free phone connectivity, options to connect USB devices, media players and a number of maintenance and infotainment functions, which includes roadside assistance and maintenance services.
Google has also announced today that Hyundai will soon be offering Google Maps in its cars via the search giant’s Send-to-Car feature, as well as the Korean car manufacturer’s own Blue Link technology. It is not clear at the moment, however, exactly which car models will support it.
Audi, Daimler and Tesla Motor Co are also working to implement Google services in its cars, albeit in a slightly different way. Audi connect offers Google local search, satellite and Street View imagery in some of its models, while Tesla has opted for a 17-inch, high-resolution touch screen display for mapping and real-time traffic updates in the Tesla Model S.
Today’s announcement follows a busy year for Nokia and Apple. Towards the end of 2012, Nokia partnered with BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Hyundai to push its Navteq mapping platform and provide location and commerce content to their in-car systems.
While Apple’s Maps weren’t especially welcomed, the company revealed partnerships with many of the world’s biggest car makers to include Siri functionality in their new models, with GM becoming the first company to integrate it into its new Chevrolet models.