Want to use Google Maps when you're in the middle of a road trip? Kia Motors America wants to help you do that.
Google and Kia jointly announced Wednesday a deal to integrate Google Maps and Google Places into Kia automobiles. Kia's 2014 Sorento, a mid-size SUV due to be available in the first quarter of this year, will be the first to get the Google service.
According to Kia, users will have full mapping and driving directions, along with voice search. Users also will be able to send destinations to their cars using a smartphone app.
The Google services will be integrated with Kia's UVO eServices. Dubbed an "infotainment" system offering music and moevies, UVO eServices also provides users with auto accident notifications, speed warnings and a child tracker system that alerts parents when their kids drive too fast.
"You should have access to comprehensive, accurate and useful information no matter where you are, including when you're behind the wheel," said Mickey Kataria, a senior product manager with Google.
This isn't totally new territory for Google. The company already has teamed with Audi to integrate Google Earth into its cars' navigation systems, giving users 3-D and aerial images of their travel routes.
Google also has been working for the last several years to get self-driving cars on the road.
In the spring of 2012, Google was issued the first license for self-driving cars from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.
It was the first step toward getting autonomous cars on the state's roadways. The experimental vehicles are designed to pilot themselves using artificial intelligence, computer sensors and GPS technology instead of human drivers.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is email@example.com.
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