Kia’s UVO Puts a Leash on Teen Drivers
At this year’s LA Auto Show, Kia announced a high-tech feature that will have parents applauding at their teens’ moans of angst. Using the Korean automaker’s new infotainment system, UVO (short for “Your Voice”), parents will have more control over how, when and where their adolescents can drive.
Using what Kia calls geo-fencing, parents can designate zones on a map and receive text messages if their teen’s car wanders into (or out of) them. The whole system can be controlled by an app on the parent’s smartphone.
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UVO also allows parents to set a speed limit on their teens’ cars. It’s similar to Ford’s MyKey system, which not only allows parents to restrict speed, but also music volume. The Ford Fiesta comes with the MyKey system and it enables parents to prevent the stereo from turning on until everyone puts their seatbelts. Perhaps later versions of Kia’s UVO will consider extra features like that as well.
These parent-friendly features will debut on the 2014 Sorento and Forte and will expand to cover most other Kia models by the end of 2013. Right now the control app is only available for the iPhone but Kia plans to make it available on Android smartphones by next spring.
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The voice-activated UVO with eServices has features that go beyond just restricting how teens drive. It can automatically place emergency calls in case of an accident, provide directions with Google Maps navigation, help you find your way through the parking lot with the parked-car locator and make vehicle diagnostics easier.
If your teens find a slick car from Kia with a red bow in the driveway this holiday season, they may just grumble a little less about Mom and Dad putting a cap on their speed.