Earlier I talked about Fords new hands free infotainment service, ‘Sync’, and how it is going to make our roads a little safer by giving drivers less distractions. Next week, Kia Motors Corp. will introduce ‘UVO’, a North American competitor to Ford Motor’s Sync. Ford’s exclusive contract with Microsoft expired at the end of 2008 and in May of that year, Microsoft announced that Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group would develop a voice-controlled infotainment system for the North American market. Fiat Auto Group also uses Microsoft technology to power its infotainment service, called Blue&Me.

Like Sync, UVO is based on the Microsoft Auto software platform, known as the Windows Embedded Auto Software Platform. Spokesmen for Kia and Microsoft say the Kia version will have features unique to the South Korean automaker. UVO will debut on an unnamed Kia vehicle sometime in 2010. The automaker will not release specifics until it formally introduces UVO at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

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