Google drives Hyundai, Kia navigation partnership

Internet giant will provide Google Maps and Places tech to South Korean carmakers, but the services are limited only to drivers in the United States currently.

Google is partnering South Korean auto makers Hyundai and Kia Motors to integrate Maps and Places into their telematics systems for certain car models in the United States.

Mickey Kataria, senior product manager for Google Maps for business, announced the partnership in a blog post Tuesday. He said: "Using Google Send-to-Car, local search and voice search, Hyundai and Kia owners in the United States can access a variety of maps features through Hyundai's Blue Link technology and Kia's second-generation UVO eServices telematics system.

"Voice search enables drivers to easily find destinations, while Google Maps and Google Places application programming interfaces (APIs)--used to power additional trip planning services--give drivers even more ways to find restaurants, stores and other points of interest while on-the-go."

When contacted by ZDNet, Google was unable to share when it will bring its technology to Asia.

In a separate statement Wednesday, Barry Ratzlaff, director of customer connect at Hyundai Motor America, said: "Google is a leader and innovator in search, content and technology, offering incredible tools. Blue Link [telematics platform] makes it easy for our owners to find and navigate to their destinations. The integration of Google Maps APIs makes Blue Link even more effective. We look forward to continuing work with Google to bring innovative solutions to Hyundai owners."

Kia Motors America also announced the Google-powered UVO system will be available in its 2014 Sorento CUV.

Besides the two car companies announced on Wednesday, Kataria noted that other automotive companies such as Audi, Daimler and Tesla Motor have included Google Maps technology in their cars.

For drivers whose cars do not support Google Maps, Google Maps Navigation --available only on Android--offers voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation for certain markets, the search giant announced previously.

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