Kia's first UVO infotaiment system was okay at best. It offered Bluetooth connectivity, iPod integration, and voice recognition to drivers -- all useful features. With all that in mind, Kia's engineers took the last two years to drastically improve the multimedia platform, and have recently debuted a new and improved system -- aptly named UVO 2 -- at this year's CES Show in Vegas. We got to take it for a quick spin. UVO 2 sports a litany of new features informing and entertaining drivers. You first notice the brilliant and highly responsive 4.3-inch full color TFT touch screen located in the dash’s center. Pertinent media buttons are to the left of the display, while eServices, Phone, and Setup buttons to the right. It’s the eServices button that is of great interest, however, as it offers drivers 14 convenient services. Among them: Crash Notification Assist, Roadside Assist, Automatic Diagnostics, Manual Diagnostics, Maintenance, Owner’s Guide, Driving Info, Send2Car (for point of interest navigation), Curfew Limit, Speed Alert, Geo Fensing, Car Care Web, and Park Assist. While we only got to play with a few of the prototype’s functions, the future of UVO looks bright, not to mention easily usable and efficient. Speaking of the future, like the German automakers in attendance (Audi and Mercedes-Benz), Kia also debuted a concept of what it believes will become of the cockpit. Called the IVI concept, or In-Vehicle Infotainment concept, it employs a massive 10.1-inch located atop the dash and another 11.6-inch wide screen located within it -- in this case, inside of the Naimo EV crossover. According to Kia, the system seamlessly connects to tablets and smartphones, offers full connectivity to social, news, point-of-interest sites and applications, and uses the latest in augmented reality navigation. Devices can be charged wirelessly, too. Along with IVI, Kia revealed its User-Centered Driving (UCD) concept. A full-color head-up display and 12.3-inch TFT-LCD cluster keep the driver informed and correctly on course in style. There’s a HMI (human-machine interface) haptic steering wheel switch to control both displays, a driver state monitoring system to safeguard against distraction or drowsiness, and a night vision mode to ensure safer driving when the sun goes down.
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