Auto Electronics

Microsoft and Hyundai-Kia partner for infotainment

Microsoft and Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group have entered into a long-term agreement to co-develop infotainment systems based on the Microsoft Auto software platform.

The firms said their first product, planned for introduction in North America in 2010, will be a system that provides voice-controlled connectivity between mobile devices, allowing consumers to enjoy music in various digital formats. The product will launch later in Asian and European markets, and expand into multimedia and navigation devices.

Microsoft and Hyunda-Kia described next-generation infotainment systems as comparable to mini-PCs, allowing functions to be added or upgraded in the form of software program updates.

The engineering and marketing teams of Microsoft's Automotive Business Unit in Redmond, Wash., will be working directly with counterparts at HKAG in Seoul. Systems powered by the current version of Microsoft Auto are currently available in Fiat Auto Group vehicles in Europe and South America and Ford Motor Co. vehicles in North America.

Microsoft and Hyundai-Kia, along with the Institute for Information Technology Advancement, signed a memorandum of understanding to co-establish an automotive IT innovation center to promote innovation and create opportunities for Korean software and device vendors in the global market. Hyundai-Kia will invest $166 million over the next five years to bring IT technology advancements into the car and to develop new in-car services.

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