The cellular phone is now as good as one of our organs and everything else which is a part of our lives must now be seamlessly connected to this device. Our cars are no different and connected car technology is the bridge which connects these two. However, besides allowing various functions of the car to be operated remotely, connected car tech also allows various parameters of the car to be monitored while you are out of the vehicle.
In India, the most comprehensive connected car technology has to be Kia Motors’ UVO (Your Voice) Connect tech, which has made the carmaker the fastest OEM to cross the 100,000 connected car sales milestone within a very short time. UVO Connect allows as many as 57 functions of the car to be accessed via a cellular phone and a smartwatch. This technology is available on the Kia Sonet and the subscription is free for the first 3 years. The technology works with the help of an e-sim fitted in the car which allows it to communicate with the user’s cellular phone via an app. Via a smartwatch, a dedicated UVO face app allows the user to wear various functions of the car on the wrist. The tech suite is segregated in five sections which are navigation, remote control, convenience, safety & security and vehicle management.
In addition to allowing the driver to keep a close watch on the car, round-the-clock, with UVO Connect, a lot more can be done. Like the car can be tracked remotely and can fetch live traffic updates. Other features included in this section include setting a destination with schedule, sending destination route to the car, destination sharing from the car, car location sharing and finding the car.
This aspect of UVO Connect allows the driver to operate various functions of the car, without the need to be inside the cabin. So via your cell phone, you can remotely start or stop the car’s engine, switch on the air purifier, check the cabin’s air quality index via the app, operate the air conditioner, lock or unlock the doors, operate the horn and lights, check the status of your vehicle, check the tyre pressure level and also how much fuel is left in the tank.
This aspect focuses on driving and occupant-related information. It makes use of an Artificial Intelligence-powered voice recognition system which can connect to Kia’s call centre to assist with navigation, update the infotainment system’s map over-the-air, record comprehensive trip related information along with driving behaviour among other things. With the simple wake up command “Hello Kia”, one can ask the car to set the direction of the flow of air from the AC vents, set the air circulation to fresh or allow it to keep circulating, control the glass defroster, the driver-side window, ask for cricket score, ask for weather information, time and date, holiday information, control the media navigation and climate control, or simply ask the car to call your favourite person.
Safety & Security
As it suggests, this aspect of UVO Connect sends notifications in the event of airbag deployment, can send an SOS call for assistance, ask for roadside assistance, send a notification in case the vehicle is stolen, allow immobilisation of vehicle in the event of a theft, set a geofence for the vehicle’s operation, set a valet alert, set a time fence alert, an alert for speed and one if the vehicle’s engine has been idling for too long.
The UVO Connect feature helps you keep a track of things which are vital when it comes to the ownership experience. It sends a monthly health report of the car, alerts the owner when the car requires maintenance, also if the auto diagnostic feature finds something wrong, and if you like taking things in your own hands, a manual diagnostic alert is also available.
In addition to all the above, the internal rear view mirror inside the Kia Sonet isn’t just a piece of glass and has embedded buttons for the UVO call centre to push maps, another to connect the driver to roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown, and an SOS button which connects the driver to the contact centre which manages the situation by fetching assistance to help the occupants in the case of an emergency.