Written by John Meadowcroft ▼

Google leading connected car race - Kia

Google leading connected car race - Kia

Henry Bzeih, head of infotainment and telematics at Kia Motors America, believes that Google will dominate the future car infotainment scene.

He also believes that iPhone and Samsung Galaxy hardware will soon have in-car modes, and that a system will likely appear that "will converge our tablets, our phones and our business devices into one device that fits all."

Bzeih was speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. He also revealed that he'd be happy with Google becoming a key player in the connected car market - especially as Kia has entered into a consumer agreement with the search giant.

"We worked with Google on our first generation telematics service that's launching in the next few weeks on the Sorento," remarked Bzeih.

"Google APIs open up an ecosystem that will enable a variety of content and services... this is the bedrock for advancing the connected car."

The Kia and Google agreement means that owners won't be charged for using Google's in-car services. Kia has also revealed it won't be constricted to an Android OS as part of the agreement.

Kia announced in December that it was producing a second-gen version of its hands-free UVO infotainment system which will feature Google Places and Google Maps. It will appear on the 2014 Kia Sorento SUV (stateside).

The feature also allows drivers to stream music through their phones and has an improved voice-activated system which can learn speech patterns. All can be accessed via the Sorento's seven-inch touchscreen.

Bzeih also believes that cars will also feature machine-to-machine (M2M) communications in the near future.

"We will see the Samsungs and Apples of the world thinking about integrating a 'car mode' into the devices they provide. I also expect augmented reality to become more prevalent in digital applications. Translating this to the connected car is what I call 'Tethered 2.0'."

That, according to Bzeih, will mean tracking services, friends and family finders, vehicle tracking technology, city guides, social networking and much more besides.

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