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KIA and Hyundai Are Bringing Android Navigation To Their Cars

October 23, 2013 - Written By Peter Holden

According to an industry insider, Hyundai and KIA are to become the first auto manufacturers in the world to include a next-generation Audio-Video-Navigation (AVN) system based on the Android OS with the all-new KIA Soul and new Hyundai Genesis models due to be released before the end of 2013. The new AVN system is to be included with the upcoming Hyundai Sonata, as well as all new cars slated for release next year.

The AVN system will focus on the auto mobile’s ability to connect with smartphones, with the smartphones not only being able to access the basic functions but to connect as a media device as well. Users will also be able to download applications and customise the settings to their preference whilst taking advantage of hands-free mobile connectivity, USB compatibility, media players, maintenance functions, roadside assistance and infotainment functions. The AVN should also offer Google’s Send-to-Car feature which allows the user to grab maps from their phone and send them to the car’s navigation system. Whether the system is restricted to accessing apps via the proprietary app store or will be certified for use with Google’s Play Store is still not known. It’s also doubtful as to whether the system will be hacker-friendly for obvious reasons.

A mysterious feature of the system is the new telematics function that can remotely control the car via the WiFi or modem connection. There are few details about this new feature, which lends itself to the idea of driving the car via the smartphone screen in a manner similar to the car-chase scene from Tomorrow Never Dies featured in the embedded video. In reality it is highly unlikely that this will be possible, due to safety regulations. Chances are that the new telematics system will allow users to access fundamental features such as remotely lock and unlock doors, open and close windows as well as control the media system.

“As foreign car makers are also developing this system, Android will become one of the main operating systems for the smart car AVN system.” according to the industry insider.

This marks the beginning of a big push by Hyundai and Kia to expand the use of the Android AVN system, which Kia have named UVO 2.0. The two companies have invested tens of billions of Korean Won (1 Billion Korean Won is roughly $947,000) in their attempt to boost development of the AVN system. They have also employed hundreds of software developers to boost R&D, aiming to beat the European car manufacturers to the world first of equipping an Android AVN to a mass-produced car. The AVN will either be pre-installed or offered as an upgrade when the vehicle is purchased.

Whilst other manufacturers have previously boasted of iOS connectivity, will the option of having an Android based AVN solution draw customers in? Will this be the beginning of consumers purchasing cars based on which operating system the Audio-Video-Navigation device is based on? Would it sway your decision when purchasing a new car in any way? Voice your opinion in the comments or on our Google Plus page.