Design & Technology

One spoken word is all you need! Voice-controlled UVO June 25th, 2010

By Multimedia Design Team

UVO is a world class infotainment system jointly developed with Microsoft. ‘UVO’ stands for ‘Your Voice’ and development of this system began in 2008 under the project name ‘Bristol’.

With earlier audio systems, software development was integrated with audio development. In contrast, UVO is based on the Windows CE Operating System and designed to support the addition of new applications. This means users can enjoy the latest functions by downloading new software or getting upgrades as needed.

With fewer buttons than existing systems for sleek and high-end design, UVO is a computer inside the car. As the first audio system equipped with a 4.3-inch TFTLCD (480×272mm QWVGA) monitor, it provides enhanced readability. The Graphic User Interface (GUI) features the touch switch for greater user convenience.

The main feature of UVO is speech recognition. If the user says the word “Help”, for example, the system will introduce the user to voice commands for various modes (radio, media, jukebox) and other functions offered by UVO. Voice commands allow drivers to control the audio system without taking their eyes off the road. For instance, let’s say a person is listening to the radio but wants to listen to a song titled “Without U” stored on a USB device. All he has to do is say “Play USB Without U” and the system will find and play the song.

The second feature is that MP3 files on an audio CD, MP3 CD and USB device can all be stored in the audio system. Earlier systems have to be linked to external devices such as an MP3 player or PMP (Portable Multimedia Player). UVO, though, comes with 1GB embedded memory. That is enough to support a virtual CD changer and download about 120 songs from an MP3 player. The songs are stored in the system’s jukebox, meaning the songs can be played without connecting the system to a CD or USB. The jukebox storage space is divided into ‘My music’ for MP3 files and ‘Virtual CD’ for files downloaded from audio CDs.

The third feature is the link to the rear view camera. Not available in earlier audio systems, this function allows the driver to see what’s behind the car when backing up. The fourth feature is the Bluetooth hands-free function. If the user registers his phone on the system, phone numbers saved in the phone will be automatically downloaded and calls can be made through voice recognition. If a text message arrives while driving, the driver can listen to the message via TTS (Text to Speech) software. The hands-free function promotes safe driving by allowing drivers to use their cell phones while keeping their eyes on the road.

The fifth feature is digital iPod support. Audios on existing platforms require a separate cable for iPod connection. But with UVO, all you need is the cable that comes together with an iPod purchase. Songs on iPod can be played through voice commands.

The sixth feature has to do with the ID3 Tag, which can be used to search for songs and show album cover art. Like a computer, existing audios search through files and folders to find songs. However, UVO conducts searches using the ID3 tag in an MP3 file. This function was added as part of the localization strategy in North America where iPods are especially popular. The ID3 tag includes the name of a song, album, singer, composer and music genre. This information can be used to view the album cover of a song.

※ Editor’s note: UVO system is only currently available in the U.S.

  • pw

    Will it ever be available in EU? If you (Kia) want to be competitive in EU market having such kind of solution is necessity here. All major brands (Citroen, Peugeot, VW, Skoda) have similar solutions.

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  • JG

    Looks great. Make it available as an option on all vehicles and add GPS to it.

  • @pw –> Thanks for your comments and rest assured that we are working on similar technologies to be made available in Europe and other markets outside of the US.

  • This will be a great feature for a car. It would be more amazing to see maps and other web applications on our cars.

  • There are speaker mobile phone kits. These are attachments for your cell phone that enable you to talk on the phone with out holding your handset in a single hand and trying to control your vehicle with the other. You will find a range of dashboard mountable holders that will be placed within arms reach

  • nice to read this more bro
    One spoken word is all you need! Voice-controlled UVO

  • Mike

    This feature sounds great but it is not available in the US at this time either. Any idea when it will be availabe. Saw an article that indicated maybe available in the US sometime early 2011 but only on the Optima EX.

  • Colin

    @ Mike

    the UVO system is still in development, our quality team is working to make sure it’s right and ready. We hope to be able to announce an official launch date in the near future.

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  • Karim ELshaboury

    hello every body i like the UVO very much & i want to buy one but i am in Egypt and i had kia kope
    I want to know if it support for my car or not & if it yes tell me how much is it ? how to buy it ? plz..
    my cell phone no. is +20114667788 or by mail

  • Bobo

    Well done by Kia, i guess with the new sportage they offer a great deal of quality. The audio system described differs as a standart cd-mp3 player with buttons shown on the top of the page and a wide lcd screen audio player with navigation inside. Generally in Eu new launched Sportage’s come with the classic button typed narrow screen audio system. I wonder if it’s possible to replace the classic one with wide lcd screened nav system. It may be but if the consoles differs in production, wide screened one may not suit the classic type’s place.

    Bobo, Turkey

  • Ian

    We are just about to buy a Grand SLi Carnival and we have been informed that there is no bluetooth fitted. Another dealer told us that all new cars that come into Australia from now on will have factory fitted bluetooth. No dealer can tell me when a Red Cerato SLi will arrive in Australia. Is there somewhere I can go to get these answers?




  • Ron Taylor

    I purchased a 2011 Kia Sportage a few weeks ago, I’m still learning all the features of the UVO system. The one upgrade I would like to see ( probably be a software upgrade) is I would like to be able to use the backup camera while the car is in foward motion. I would also like to see camera’s installed in the outside rearview mirrors. There is a huge blind spot on both sides of the car using the mirrors. This requires you to turn in the seat to see if you have a car beside you. I was watching a show called Top Gear recently and noticed the Land Rover has a system like this and even has a foward camera. You can use all 4 cameras at the same time or split the views or just pick one using the touch screen.

  • Mike

    When will the UVO be available in Canada on the Sportage im tired of waiting to buy this car someone HELP!!!!

  • Sora57b

    Apparently the Jukebox does not come if you get the premium audio package.

  • lisa

    Its great!! But try to download songs to Jukebox??? Cant figure out what format
    to download from???? Any one know?

  • Lexie0105

    I need help finding app to download to phone that works with voice text on UVO in my new KIA. HELP

  • Munir Jabbari

    i want this application how can I get it ???????????!!!!